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Pakistan

Web Desk
April 6, 2020

'Inaction over reforms': Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry resigns

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Apr 06, 2020

Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry tendered his resignation on Monday over alleged inaction on reforms regarding the food industry.

In his resignation, Chaudhry said he resigned after meeting Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar.

In the letter, the provincial food minister said that he faced allegation that he could not bring reforms in the department, adding that until the clearance of accusations he would not hold any government office.

“I am willing to sacrifice thousands of such ministries for completing the agenda of Imran Khan,” he wrote.

Calling the allegations baseless, the provincial minister said that he is voluntarily stepping back.

The letter said that the minister is willing to present himself for accountability at every forum.

New appointments

After the resignation of Samiullah Chaudhry, government sources informed that Commissioner Dera Ghazi Khan Naseem Sadiq has been appointed On Special Duty officer in relation to the department.

Sources said that in 2019, Sadiq served as the food secretary Punjab, adding that he personally sent a request for appointment to the CM Punjab.

Sources further said that Director Food Authority Punjab Zafar Iqbal has also been made OSD officer for the provincial food department.

FIA report on food crisis

The resignation of the Punjab minister came after a report by the Federal Investigation Agency claimed that top PTI members were among those who gained from the recent sugar crisis in the country.

An investigation into the crisis had been ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan in February. Among the people named in the FIA report are Jahangir Tareen and a brother of Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar.

Related: Those who called others thieves had sugar and wheat bandits in their own ranks: Marriyum Aurangzeb

Tareen was said by the report to have benefitted the most from the sugar crisis followed by Bakhtiar's brother.

The report also claims that the companies belonging to Moonis Elahi — an ally of the party — profited from the sugar crisis. Elahi is Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi's son and a key member of the PML-Q.

After the report sent alarm bells ringing on the political horizon, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said he would take action against those responsible for the sugar and wheat price hike after he sees the detailed forensic report of the preliminary findings.