Saturday May 30, 2020
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday said PTI leader Jahangir Tareen should be punished if found responsible for having a hand in the sugar crisis that sent prices skyrocketing in the country amid a shortage of the commodity..
Shahzad Akbar, the premier's aide on accountability, while declaring the findings of the sugar crisis inquiry public, on May 21, had said that the report "confirms the premier's longheld view that businessmen in politics will put business first".
Speaking in Geo News' programme Jirga, Sarwar said: "If Jahangir Tareen and Khusro [Bakhtiar] are guilty then action should be taken against them."
"The commission should not do selective accountability; there are 83 sugar mills [...] All of them are responsible for the shortfall that occurred — may it be Tareen or Bakhtiar," he expressed.
When asked whether only Tareen would leave the party or someone else would leave along with him, he said: "There are a lot of procedures that will take place now, responsibilities will be given. He [Tareen] has remedies, he has courts to go to."
Sarwar said that the premier keeps kinship aside while taking decisions as he is working for a "greater cause".
“If a person from his family is doing something wrong then he will boycott his family."
Earlier in the week, the PPP had demanded PM Imran and the federal cabinet be held accountable for approving the export of sugar and freight subsidy of Rs2bn.
Advisor to the Chief Minister on Law Syed Murtaza Wahab and Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah held a press conference to answer corruption allegations by SAPM Akbar.
"There are various problems with the TORs of the commission," he said. "The name of the chief minister who was to be summoned has not been included. The prime minister who approved sugar subsidies, his name has also not been mentioned," said Shah.
Referring to PTI leaders Khusro Bakhtiar and Jahangir Tareen being the "talk of the town" these days, the information minister said that their sugar mills received the lion's share of the subsidies.
"More than 84% of the sugar subsidy was given [by Sindh government] to sugar mills of Jahangir Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar and other people," he underlined. "This subsidy was given because sugar mills had sugar in ample quantities hence they did not want to start the crushing season," said Shah, adding that subsidies were given to the sugar mills to encourage them to export their excess sugar and buy the commodity from local farmers.
"This subsidy is given and other benefits when the demand for sugar is low in the international market," he noted. Shah lashed out at the government, wondering why the price of sugar had soared to Rs80 per kilogramme during the PTI government's tenure.
Wahab and Shah were responding to a hard-hitting press conference by Shahzad Akbar from Wednesday in which, looping in the government of Sindh, he had said that the provincial government gave the most benefit to Omni Group through subsidies, which had been opposed by the provincial cabinet.
"The chief minister of Punjab appeared in front of the sugar inquiry commission but the chief minister of Sindh did not," he had said. "The [PTI] government will take homogeneous action against our party and others named in the report."
Taunting political opponents, the special assistant had said the report from the sugar probing commission was presented in the federal cabinet, which decided to make it public. The investors profited from fluctuations in sugar prices while the common people and farmers bore the brunt, he added.