LAHORE: PTI’s Jehangir Khan Tareen, who has been accused of minting billions during the sugar crisis, has said that if he was hold responsible he would challenge the investigating committee.
He said he was in constant contact with (his close friend) PM Imran Khan and he stood with him. Claiming that he had provided 20,000 tons of sugar to Utility Stores at lower rates saving the people Rs. 250 million, Tareen stated: “If I had not sold sugar at Rs. 67 a kilo, I’d have donated Rs. 250 million to the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund.”
Tareen informing that FIA officials had been probing the matter since 20th of March (2020), stated that his team was fully cooperating with the investigators: “However, I will challenge the Committee if it holds me responsible.”
Two Tales About Task Force Chairmanship:
When Punjab government spokesperson Shahbaz Gill took to the Twitter to proclaim that Jahangir Khan Tareen had been removed as the chairperson of the task force on agriculture in light of findings of Sugar and Wheat Inquiry Report, he retorted via Twitter: “Hello hello, News bring reported that I have been “removed” as C’man Agri Task Force ….I was never chairman of any task force . Can anyone show me a notification with me as C’man ?? Pl get your facts right people.”
Sugar and Wheat Scandal: Who looted people’s money?
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken to the Twitter to comment on FIA’s report on profiteering by PTI supporters:“As promised preliminary reports into sudden price hikes of sugar & wheat have been released immed without alteration/tampering. This is unprecedented in Pak’s history.Prev pol ldrships bec of their vested interests & compromises lacked moral courage to order & release such reports.”
He said that following the forensic report, by highly powerful commission, on 25th of this month action would be taken against those powerful lobbies that resorted to generate huge amounts of money at the expense of people: “I await the detailed forensic reports now by the high-powered commission, which will come out on 25 April, before taking action. InshaAllah, after these reports come out no powerful lobby will be able to profiteer at the expense of our public.”
Taking credit of the release of preliminary reports into sudden price hikes of sugar and wheat (immediately without alteration and tampering) he claimed it was never done before in the history of the country.
Meanwhile, deposed PM Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N grasped at the opportunity to accuse PM Imran Khan of letting his supporters generate money looting the people of Pakistan. Mian Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in NA, called for an inquiry into the findings of the reports:
“…the reports provide incriminating evidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. Let’s wait and see what kind of punishment Imran, who is the chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee, decides for himself and Buzdar,” Shehbaz Sharif held.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has asked the government to take action against the culprits sans waiting for the forensic reports: “We have a report that proves what we had been saying about these two (Tareen and Bakhtiar) all along. Action needs to be taken against them.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan prompted to do the disaster management, by calling a Presser at Sialkot today (Sunday 5th of April, 2020).
She maintained that Prime Minister Imran Khan had fulfilled the promise he made about accountability: “When the prime minister saw that there was a fake shortage being created in the supply line for sugar and wheat, he vowed to initiate an inquiry.
“However, it is important for the people to realise that the same reports have also exposed the nefarious designs of the Sharif clan. Imran Khan has begun the accountability process of his own party.
“But the reports also highlighted the fact that Salman Shehbaz Sharif was given subsidies worth Rs. 1.4 billion during the PML-N government’s tenure.
“Why does that name not come out of Shehbaz Sharif’s mouth? Will he be calling his son back and handing him over to the law,” Firdous Ashiq Awan said.
FIA report on sugar had revealed that JWD belonging to PTI supporter Jahangir Tareen, which happens to own 6 sugar mills, obtained 12.28 per cent of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs. 3.058 billion during 2015-18.
It is pertinent to mention here that during these years production of sugar was more than the local needs, hence it is necessary to investigate who influenced the authorities to make certain policies enabling few individuals and groups mint billions looting the people of Pakistan.
Inquiry Committee (led by FIA DG) in its 32-page report on sugar price hike concluded that PTI government’s decision to allow export of sugar caused a thirty percent increase in its price: “The exporters of sugar benefited in 2 ways: first they were able to gain subsidy and secondly, they made profit from the increasing sugar prices in the local market.”
According to FIA’s report PTI’s former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and Federal Minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar were among the main beneficiaries. They got Rs. 1.03 billion subsidy on the export of sugar, paid out from the taxpayers money, which was equal to 41% of the total subsidy paid by Punjab government.
FIA further noted: “Sugar mill owners who availed maximum subsidy had political clout and influence in decision making and they tried to gain maximum benefit in a very limited time.”
PM, manifesting his resolve to punish the culprits, has ordered forensic inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act of 2017. Results are expected by 25th of April, 2020.
PM was also given report on the wheat crisis, compiled by a 3-member bench headed by Wajid Zia. According to the probe it transpired that the crisis originated due to poor planning by the centre and provincial governments.
Relevant pieces published earlier:
PM bans export of sugar as prices augment
8th of February, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a summary on Friday 7th of February to ban export of sugar to contain the augmenting prices.
According to details traders will be able to import 300,000 tons of sugar through pvt. sector sans taxes and duties. Importers will not get any financial support from the government.
It is pertinent to mention here that the country had exported 141,447 metric tonnes of sugar without gauging the trap of hoarders.
Why wheat was exported?
6th of February, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Concerned ministries are ditching the question as to why the wheat and flour were exported when a ban was imposed to avoid any shortage and price-hike crisis.
Cynics go haywire wondering why the cabinet ECC failed to halt the export of wheat and flour despite noting about the imminent scarcity of the staple commodity in the country. It is pertinent to mention here that a ban was imposed in the month of July.
Over the next few months – from end of July to first week of November – a number of notifications were issued by the ministries of food security and commerce to ban export of these products.
PBS data shows that 2,060 tons of wheat was exported in September while 1,887 tons of wheat was exported in October, 2019. 89,237 tonnes of wheat in exported June and July. Sources revealed that wheat and flour were sent to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan between July and October 2019.
Since there is no ban on the export of products Pakistan also exported 247,366 tons of wheat straw in the last 12 months, 1571 tons of paratha and 4,233 tons of vermicelli.
Authorities were forewarned about impeding wheat shortage in May
ISLAMABAD: Savants at the helm of affairs hold the authorities culpable for the wheat shortage crisis as they were forewarned about impeding shortage as early as May, 2020.
The miscalculation apropos gauging the volume of expected wheat crop and indecisiveness resulted into the flour crisis. It is pertinent to mention here that unreliable modus operandi to figure out future size of crop utilized here has resulted into severe crisis in 2007-8 and 2014 too.
Since here wheat is planted in the last three months of the year and harvested during April to May, the possible size of the expected crop could be calculated by February and March on the basis of availability of water, climatic condition and the area under cultivation.
Though the state of affairs was quite clear, government resorted to take superficial steps such as imposing ban on exports etc. Even the ban came too late.
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