ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday reiterated his strong resolve to safeguard the rights of the people of Pakistan at all costs by taking the issue of sug­ar inquiry to its logical end.

Chairing the meeting of Fed­eral Cabinet, the Prime Minister said the Pakistan Tahreek-e-In­saf’s (PTI) government strongly believed in complete transpar­ency and securing rights of the people. He assured that the price of sugar would be brought down at every cost and the pub­lic would feel that the govern­ment had the sole priority and that was to secure the interest of masses.

“It is a fight for the people of Pakistan. Anyone found in­volved in it will face the action,” a press release of the PM Office Media Wing quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

The meeting was apprised about the steps taken on the recommendations of Sugar In­quiry Commission. After the Prime Minister’s approval, the action was being taken which had three dimensions. The first pertained to punishment and recovery, which entailed further seven different related actions including:-

The commission reviewed the issue of subsidy from the year 2014 to 2019 under which a sub­sidy of Rs 29 billion was given. However, under the PM’s direc­tion, the said issue was referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that would con­sider the matter from 1985 es­pecially during the 90s under its relevant jurisdiction and laws.

The issues of income tax and benami transactions were re­ferred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which would complete the proceedings with­in 90 days. The commission had examined issues of nine mills, but now under the prime min­ister’s direction, the FBR was asked to investigate 88 other mills as well. The issue of car­telisation was referred to the Competition Commission of Pakistan that would complete its proceedings within 90 days.

The issues of waiver of loans, auctioning of mortgaged assets of banks and loans default were handed over to the State Bank to complete the task within 90 days. The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would look into corporate fraud issue.

The commission of fraud and money laundering in im­ports had been handed over to FIA. The relevant provincial anti-corruption departments would look into the issues of sugarcane prices and violation of provincial rules. The cabinet was further apprised that the second part of commission’s report was related to regula­tory framework under which the amendments in the relevant laws were under consideration, so as to tackle the issues like forward sale etc.

The meeting was briefed that a committee headed by the minister for industries and production was set up, which would present its recommenda­tions over measures for bring­ing down sugar price, besides suggesting steps at the level of framing of policy.

The cabinet was apprised that the Federal Government would provide 1,000 more beds equipped with ventilators dur­ing the current month of June in all the four provinces to upgrade the health facilities in the country and to meet the requirement of COVID-19 affected patients.

Moreover, for the relevant coronavirus information and awareness about the facilities, a web site and mobile applica­tion (RMS) were being utilized. The Prime Minister said in the current situation, the role of leadership was very critical. He observed that a segment of the society had misconceptions about the contagion, which should be removed. “Consider­ing the economical conditions of the country, the lockdown was not possible as the country confronted twin challenges of coronavirus pandemic and the poverty,” he added.

The Prime Minister stressed upon facing the situation in­stead of getting into panic and said its spread could be con­tained by fully implementing the standard operating proce­dures (SOPs). He underlined the need to persuade the pub­lic and made them to strictly observe the SOPs. The meet­ing was also apprised about the available corona treatment facilities in different hospitals of Islamabad. During the cur­rent month, an addition of 200 more beds would be made in these hospitals.

The cabinet was informed that for the National Assembly session, a mechanism over the SOPs had been agreed upon with the consultation of the speaker and the political leadership. The Prime Minister also took notice of the poultry price hike and di­rected the advisor on finance to convene a meeting of National Price Monitoring Control Com­mittee and submit a detailed re­port before the cabinet.

He also directed for expedit­ing the introduction of e-filing and e-tracking systems in the ministries for bringing im­provement in the performance of the government institutions and ensuring implementa­tion of decisions in that regard within the set time frame. The meeting was also briefed about the recommendations of a task force over the proper utilization of the abandoned properties and streamlining of Evacuee Trust Board affairs. It was told that under the abandoned prop­erties category, there were a to­tal of 47,000 such properties.

The Prime Minister directed for accelerating the identifica­tion process of such properties and completion of their geo-tagging process at the earliest.