ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will Monday (today) take up a petition filed by sugarcane farmers in a matter related to a report of Sugar Inquiry Commission which was challenged and stayed by the same court.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice AtharMinallah will conduct hearing of the farmers’ petition filed by sugarcane farmer AhsanAbidRaees from Rahim Yar Khan.

In their petition, the farmers have requested the court to be made party to the sugar inquiry commission case in the IHC. The petition stated that the farmers who have been most targeted by the sugar mafia should also be heard in the court. They adopted in the petition that the sugar mafia infringed on the rights of the petitioner, and that the mafia’s actions were in violation of rights preserved by Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Previously, the same IHC bench issued an interim stay order and temporarily restricted the government from acting on the recommendations of the sugar inquiry commission report. Mill owners were directed to fix the price of sugar at Rs70 per kilogramme during this time, and they assured the court of the same. In this connection, the owners of 17 sugar mills and the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) have approached the court against the commission’s report and the court issued notices to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, members of the commission including its head FIA Director General Wajid Zia and other officials seeking their response to the sugar industry’s plea. The PSMA had challenged the inquiry report saying that the inquiry report was “entirely unlawful” and led to an “unwarranted campaign of vilification and demonisation” against the country’s sugar mills. They added that it denied the “right to due process guaranteed to them by the Constitution.”

All sugar mill owners said that they are willing to “answer all questions of fact and law and face the consequences of their actions.”