ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday pledged that no powerful lobby will be able to profiteer at the expense of the public.

One day after probe reports regarding the sugar and wheat crisis were made public, PM Imran took to twitter and said he awaits detailed forensic reports now by the high-powered commission, which will come out on 25th of this month, before taking action.

He said as promised preliminary reports into sudden price hikes of sugar and wheat were released immediately without alteration and tampering. He said this is unprecedented in Pakistan’s history. He said previous political leaderships, because of their vested interests and compromises, lacked moral courage to order and release such reports.

“As promised preliminary reports into sudden price hikes of sugar & wheat have been released immed without alteration/tampering. This is unprecedented in Pak’s history. Prev pol ldrships bec of their vested interests & compromises lacked moral courage to order & release such reports,” the PM tweeted.

He also said, “I await the detailed forensic reports now by the high-powered commission, which will come out on 25 April, before taking action. InshaAllah, after these reports come out no powerful lobby will be able to profiteer at the expense of our public.”

PM fulfilled his promise by making inquiry report public: Dr Firdous

The reports of the inquiry committees tasked to probe sugar and wheat crises in the country were made public on Saturday while the prime minister directed forensic analysis to further expand findings on the subject of sugar.

Imran Khan had constituted two high-powered committees under Director General Federal Investigation Agency and comprising a senior officer of Intelligence Bureau and DG Anti Corruption Establishment Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of the said commodities.

In its 32-page report, the inquiry committee on sugar price hike termed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s decision to allow export of sugar unjustified as it caused a 30% increase in its price.

Both stalwarts of the PTI including Tareen’s companies and RYK group went away with Rs1.03billion subsidy on the export of sugar, paid out from the taxpayers’ money, which was equal to 41% of the total subsidy the government of Punjab paid to sugar barons.

The RYK Group has four sugar mills owned by Makhdoom Umar Shehryar, a relative of Khusro Bakhtiar, Chaudhry Munir of the PML-N and Moonis Elahi of PML-Q, which is part of the ruling coalition. They availed of a total of 15.83 percent export subsidy, amounting to Rs3.944bn during 2015-18.

According to the report, the exporters gained benefit in two ways. First, they were able to gain subsidy and secondly they made profits by increasing sugar prices in the local market from Rs55 per kg in December 2018 to Rs71.44 in June 2019, although the GST increase was implemented from July 2019.

The report noted that the estimated domestic consumption of Pakistan is around 5.2 million metric tonnes (mmt) per year. In 2016-17, Pakistan had a record 7.08mmt production of sugar while the production in 2017-18 was 6.63mmt. The report revealed that sugar mill owners who availed maximum subsidy had political clout and influence in decision making and they tried to gain maximum benefit in a very limited time. It had said that no government, except Punjab’s, provided the subsidy and financial layout of subsidy was Rs3bn.

The report also named the Omni Group, which owned eight sugar mills and had obtained export subsidy of Rs901m during the last four years. Omni Group is also facing a money laundering case along with PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

PM fulfilled his promise by making inquiry report public: Dr. Firdous

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that federal government’s relief package of 200 billion rupees is an effort to facilitate the poor people affected by lockdown.

Talking to news persons in Sialkot on Sunday, she said steps are also being taken to ensure safety of health workers, doctors and provision of relief to daily wagers. 

Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the Prime Minister has fulfilled his promise by making inquiry report on wheat and sugar crises public. She said that appropriate action will be taken against the culprits in accordance with law and constitution of the country. She further said the Prime Minister has zero tolerance against corruption and accountability process will continue.