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Friday November 26, 2021

Shahbaz biggest beneficiary of sugar subsidy: Firdous

By APP
April 27, 2020

SIALKOT: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday said the forensic audit report of the inquiry into the wheat flour and sugar crisis would be made public, apprising the people of all the facts and figures.She rejected the allegations leveled by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif about delay in the presentation of report. It was in fact a “cheap effort” by the opposition leader to keep himself in news. She said that Shahbaz Sharif was the biggest beneficiary of sugar during PML-N regime.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said, believed in an across the board accountability and that was why he had formed a commission to unmask the real faces behind the crisis. No one from the PM's family was a beneficiary of the subsidy given for the export of sugar, she said while addressing a press conference here. Dr Firdous said the commission comprising officials from the responsible institutions had to carry out the forensic audit of the last three years, so it required more time to complete the process in the most transparent manner. Its request for three-week extension in the deadline for completing the audit would be presented before the cabinet for approval.

The SAPM said Prime Minister Imran Khan had a clear stance that no political statement should be issued in the time of crisis to fight the coronavirus outbreak with national unity and cohesion.

But unfortunately, Shahbaz Sharif was facing political isolation due to the internal politics of his party and that was why he had targeted the prime minister over the inquiry commission.

She reminded Shahbaz Sharif that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had not yet completed two years, whereas the subsidies were distributed among the Sharif family during the PML-N regime. She questioned as to when Shahbaz would start accountability of the subsidies given to the Sharif family members by him as Punjab chief minister and his brother Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.

She asked Shahbaz not to take Sheikh Rashid Ahmed's statement about the PML-N's internal politics to his heart. It was an internal matter of PML-N if Maryam Nawaz wanted to appoint Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the party president and the PTI leadership did not want to comment on it, she added.

She urged the opposition leaders that instead of political point scoring, they should augment the government's efforts to defeat the coronavirus contagion and save the vulnerable segments of the society from the impacts of lockdown. The philanthropists should help the government by giving heavy donations for the purpose.

The special assistant stressed that it was the responsibility of different segments of the society, particularly the religious scholars to play their role in containing and defeating the contagion.

She expressed the confidence that the Ulema would fulfill their responsibility regarding the implementation of 20-point Ramazan guidelines in order to avoid the spread of virus. She said now technology was being utilised to target and trace the infected people and put them in quarantine.

The federal and provincial governments were already fulfilling their responsibilities but it was upto the people to follow guidelines regarding isolation and social distancing, she added.

Dr Firdous said a relief package for industrial workers had been prepared, which would be approved by the Economic Coordination Committee on Monday (April 27). The objective of the package was to protect the rights and livelihoods of the industrial workers, which was only possible when the burden of industries was also shared during the testing times. Therefore, the package envisaged relief measures for the owners of the industries and factories, she added.

The SAPM said the capacity of corona testing had been multiplied during the last few weeks, so increase in the number of cases was natural.

On the first day, only 472 tests were done, whereas now over 8,000 tests per day were being conducted, she added. Initially only six labs were conducting the corona tests and now over 40 were doing the job, she said.

Dr Firdous expressed the hope that with the cooperation of people, the graph of corona affectees would be brought down and Eidul Fitr would bring a good news in that regard.

She said doctors and paramedical staff were fighting as front line soldiers in the war against COVID-19 pandemic and the nation valued their services during the testing times. The government was committed to ensure the safety of doctors by providing all necessary equipment to them, she added.