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Thursday April 18, 2024

Abbasi alleges misappropriation of billions of rupees in free flour scheme

Punjab caretaker minister rejects PML-N senior leader’s allegations; demands evidence

By Web Desk
May 01, 2023
People stand in a queue to collect free wheat flour bags from Ramadan Package in Lahore, on March 28, 2023. — Online
People stand in a queue to collect free wheat flour bags from Ramadan Package in Lahore, on March 28, 2023. — Online 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has alleged that corruption of Rs20 billion took place during the distribution of free flour by the federal and provincial governments in the holy month of Ramazan.

Addressing a ceremony in Lahore, the ruling party leader said that the country’s system has become “so corrupt and outdated” that it cannot deliver.

He said corrupt government officials would be identified in the past “but today is the time when we have to look for honest officers”.

Abbasi asked what did poor get out of Rs84 billion subsidy allocated by the federal and provincial governments to provide free flour to the poor during the holy month of Ramazan.

“More than Rs20 billion were stolen in the government's free flour scheme,” he alleged.

Responding to his allegations, the Centre and the caretaker government of Punjab rejected his claims.

Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said millions of poor people in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Islamabad were provided free flour during the holy month with “full transparency and honesty”.

She said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself visited the flour distribution points in different cities.

The minister also lauded the efforts of administrative officers and other staffers involved in the free flour distribution for making the historic scheme successful.

Punjab caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir also rejected Abbasi’s allegation saying not even a single penny of corruption took place in the free flour scheme.

The free flour scheme has been the most successful scheme in the history of Punjab, he said adding that 30 million deserving people of Punjab benefited from the subsidy.

He said subjecting the flour subsidy to the party’s internal politics was unfair. “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should either apologise or provide evidence,” the provincial minister demanded.