ISLAMABAD - The government will take strict action against those involved in artificial crisis of wheat and sugar after release of Inquiry commission’s report on 25th of this month.

Special Assistant to the Prime Mister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan stated this while addressing press conference about Federal Cabinet’s decisions, which met in Islamabad with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

She said the government machinery is fully active to ensure the availability of quality edibles at affordable prices and no negligence would be tolerated in this regard.

Firdous Ashiq Awan said the prime minister warned that strict action will be taken against those found involved in hurling threats to commission.

“Today, the prime minister expressed ‘great displeasure’ over threats being given to the sugar crisis probe commission. He said that strict action will be taken against such elements if they make threats [to the inquiry commission] again,” she said, adding that the premier made it clear that the government’s topmost priority was to provide justice to the people.

She said that the prime minister had tasked the FIA commission to probe the crisis upon witnessing the hardships that citizens were facing. Dr Firdous said that PM Imran will take action based on the recommendations of the final report that will be provided by the commission on April 25.

Dr Firdous said that the inquiry report had not only raised questions on Pakistan’s sugar policy but had also identified the problems of the food system in the country. “These [gaps] will not only be removed but a foolproof, technological process will be introduced due to which no one will have the courage to create an artificial food crisis again,” she added.

She said that the cabinet had been informed that a delegation headed by Salman Shehbaz Sharif convinced then-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in 2017 to issue Rs20bn subsidy for sugar. Dr Firdous said that the cabinet had been informed that the Sindh government had also approved subsidies for sugar mills in 204 and 2018 through the Omni Group.

 

The Special Assistant said the Prime Minister has directed to resolve the issues being faced by growers and farmers on immediate basis.  Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar presented report to the cabinet regarding shortage of sugar and wheat in the country.

 

The Cabinet approved proposals regarding revamping, reconstructing and reorganizing Evacuee Trust Property Board, giving nod to utilize its properties in Health, Education and Housing sectors.

 

Special Assistant on National health Services Dr Zafar Mirza gave briefing to the cabinet about ongoing Coronavirus cases and government’s measures to provide relief to Corona-hit labour population. The Cabinet was told that 39,000 personal protective kits have been dispatched to all provinces for protection of paramedical staff engaged in Coronavirus-hit patients.

 

Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar informed the cabinet that 7,17,119 youth have so far been registered with Corona Relief Tigers Force, which is working in district, tehsil and Union Council-level across the country.

 

Special Assistant on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar gave detailed briefing to the cabinet on Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. The Cabinet was told that the federal government is providing cash assistance worth 12,000 rupees to over 12 million deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program following coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The deserving families would get this cash assistance after biometric verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah across the country. The cabinet also approved provision of broadband internet service through Universal Service Fund to 62 districts of the country.