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May 24, 2020

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Newspost

 
May 24, 2020

This letter refers to the editorial ‘Sugar robbery’ (May 14, 2020). The editorial has rightly criticized the government for unnecessarily delaying the sugar robbery case that involves a Rs100 billion loss to the national exchequer and ordinary consumers via exorbitant subsidies and prices. Undoubtedly, the credit goes to the prime minister for making public a report in which the beneficiaries include prominent leaders of his party. However, the way the report has been dragged out and prolonged is disappointing. Very valid questions have been raised about the action taken against those who approved the export of sugar, huge subsidies and delayed punitive actions.

Once the corruption was documented there was no need to further extend the period of investigation to record further statements. Instead, the government should have proceeded to act against the main culprits. No case can be made against beneficiaries whosoever they may be, the entire responsibility rests with state functionaries who allowed sugar to be exported when a domestic shortage was on the cards, paving the way for huge subsidies once the prices spiked. Any entrepreneur always looks for more profit, it is the duty of competent authorities to ensure that the quest for profit does not lead to unfair, manipulative practices. Avoidable delays in acting on the revelations in the inquiry raises doubts about the credibility of the process and is tantamount to finding ways to favour the culprits. People are not interested in the finer points of the inquiry but want those responsible for the robbery to be brought to justice.

Mukhtar Ahmed

Karachi