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"Opposition’s minus-one desire will never come true"

"Opposition’s minus-one desire will never come true"

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar and Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Friday said that the opposition’s desire of minus-one will never be materialised and Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif will not go off the hook.

Shahzad Akbar said that some Rs254 million of Ramazan Package 2018 had been misappropriated by 149 flourmills tasked to provide Atta to people on subsidised rates.

Talking to the media, he said out of Rs254 million a sum of Rs190 million has already been recovered and deposited in the national exchequer while action was also being taken against 156 officials of Food Department.

"Opposition’s minus-one desire will never come true". PID

The Anti-Corruption Department has started criminal proceedings against 70 officials of the Food Department, who were directly involved in misappropriation of wheat subsidy. He said 149 flourmills were involved in the embezzlement of wheat out of a total of 687 mills.

Right now, due to strict measures taken, a 20kg flour bag was available at Rs860. In case of complaint, helpline of Punjab government could be contacted. He said the Supreme Court had vacated the stay orders of Sindh High Court onthe report of Sugar Inquiry Commission. Stay orders were sought by Sugar Mills Association.

The Supreme Court had also directed the high courts to decide pending petitions relating to sugar commission within three weeks period. Over 100 stay orders regarding sugar mills have been still pending in different courts since the last 11 years.

The government had made public sugar inquiry commission report first time in the history. Islamabad High Court had also vacated sugar mills association's stay order after vigorous persuasion by the government.

On receiving Sugar Inquiry Report, he said the federal cabinet had approved a strategy including roadmap of taking punitive action, introducing reforms and rationalising the price of sugar.

A committee headed by Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar has been constituted to finalise the reforms in sugar policy and rationalise prices of sugar. The committee has started negotiations with sugar mills association in this regard.

Provincial governments, Competition Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have been directed to investigate violations by sugar mills in accordance with their rules and report within a period of 90 days.

A reference has been sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate the misappropriation in subsidies given to sugar mills according to NAB ordinance 1999. The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) would probe last 10 years cartelisation in sugar industry, State Bank of Pakistan will investigate sugar mills’ willful loan defaults, pledged sugar stocks according to their rules.

FIA will inquire into the fake export of sugar to Afghanistan and report within 90 days period. Provincial governments have been asked to probe violations by sugar mills including paying less price of sugarcane to farmers and other violations.

Responding to a question, he said the delay in action against sugar was due to litigation. Meanwhile, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan defended provincial Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who has recently come under criticism for his 'below-par' performance, saying Buzdar has been delivering on his responsibilities with ease.

While talking to media in Lahore, the provincial minister highlighted that the Punjab government, under the supervision of Buzdar, had provided tax relief of Rs56 billion in its recent provincial budget.

Claiming that international media has been commending Buzdar's performance, Chohan said, "Buzdar is the only chief minister who has come to the forefront to serve the people of the country."

Taking a jibe at the former leadership in the province, the minister said, "The so-called Khadim-i-Aala would stand in the rainwater wearing a fancy hat and carrying an umbrella, pretending to serve the people of the country." "The previous governments did nothing to deal with the monsoon," he asserted.

The minister went on to add that Buzdar has made a constructive plan to deal with a rainwater crisis that threatens the province during the ongoing monsoon season. "Usman Bazdar is serving the people at his own pace without making decisions in a hasty manner," he added.