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

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

During the hearing, the bench also hinted at revoking the interim stay orders which restricted the government from taking any action against sugar mills owners upon being informed that sugar was not being sold at Rs70 per kilogramme as earlier directed by the court.

Therefore, the court fixed the case for hearing of the petition of sugar mills owners on June 19 due to non-compliance of the court orders about the rate of sugar, on which the stay was conditional.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar appeared before the court and submitted his report stating that sugar was not being sold at the decided price. He told that correspondence continued but sugar was not available in the market at the rate of Rs70 per kg.

The IHC Chief Justice expressed his annoyance at the failure to fix the price of sugar and remarked that the interim stay was conditional on this matter and the hearing of the case can be held sooner.

The federal government also supported the grower’s petition of becoming a party in the case.

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.