ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday (today) will take up the federal government’s petition against the Sindh High Court (SHC)’s judgment preventing it from taking action against sugar mills owners in the light of recommendations of the Sugar Inquiry Commission.

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprised Justice Ijazul Ahsan, will conduct the hearing of the federation’s appeal.

On June 23 Sindh High Court issued stay orders restraining the federal government from taking action against the owners of sugar mills in the light of the recommendations of Sugar Inquiry Commission.

In its petition, the government requested the apex court to declare the SHC order null and void. It said that the SHC had no jurisdiction to halt an investigation into a matter. It added that the High Court gave relief to the petitioners without affording it a fair hearing.

A petition was filed against the Sugar Inquiry Commission report by Khairpur Sugar Mills and 20 others, which was taken up and further action on the report was temporarily halted.

The SHC sought an explanation from the sugar mills by June 30 while the petitioner has also been asked to explain why the matter was referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Shahzad Akbar.

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court had allowed government agencies on June 20 to take action against the sugar barons responsible for shortage of the commodity earlier this year and dismissed a petition requesting the court to stop a crackdown started on the basis of the inquiry report.

While disposing of the petitions of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association and sugar mill owners, the IHC declared the constitution of the inquiry commission to probe the cartelisation and price hike of sugar lawful, and also validated its proceedings and report.