ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) on Wednesday approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the report of Sugar Inquiry Commission.

In its petition, the association cited federation through Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Interior, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Shahzad Akbar Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability, Wajid Zia Director General (DG) FIA and others as respondents.

The petitioners stated in the petition that they seek the protection of this court against the entirely unlawful and unwarranted campaign of vilification and demonization launched against them in complete denial of the right to due process guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

They adopted, “An inquiry report that travels beyond its Constitutional and statutory scope and purports to render decisive findings prior to the initiation of proceedings by the legally designated executive authorities and determination by the appropriate judicial fora is liable to be set aside by this honourable court.”

Their petition said that a report titled “Report of the Commission of Inquiry Constituted by Ministry of Interior to Probe into the Increase in Sugar Prices” was released on May 21 while the said report was prepared by the Sugar Inquiry Commission (SIC) constituted on March 16 through a notification of Ministry of Interior.

They argued, “The scope of the Impugned Report clearly exceeds the constitutional mandate and limitation of a Federal Commission of Inquiry constituted under the 2017 Act, as it trespasses into matters within the exclusive legislative and executive domains of the Provinces.” “The entire inquiry has been carried out in a completely illegal, unlawful, opaque, biased and discriminatory manner. It has been conducted in complete contravention to the requirements of the 2017 Act and the relevant terms of reference,” pointed the petition.

It continued that the principles of natural justice as well as the fundamental rights of the petitioners including the right to due process, fair trial and non-discrimination have been violated.

The petition maintained that the impugned report has purported to sit in judgment over the executive policy decisions of the federal government as well as of the government of Punjab.

Therefore, the PSMA and other petitioners prayed to the court to declare the notification of Interior Ministry of March 16 to constitute Sugar Inquiry Commission and all subsequent and consequent actions of the respondents including but not limited to the impugned report of May 21, the impugned Action Matrix of Respondent No 4 (Shahzad Akbar) and the impugned Prime Minister’s decision of June 7 and the other actions of the government officials as ultra vires the Act, unconstitutional, malicious and may be pleased to quash the same.

They also requested the court to declare the “recommendations” of the Commission regarding references of “cases” by the Federal Government to the “relevant authorities” in respect of certain “offences” as set out in the impugned report as to be without lawful authority, of no legal effect and void ab initio.