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October 13, 2020

Al-Arabia Sugar Mills, Faruki Pulp Mills case: LHC seeks arguments from Centre, petitioners’ counsel

National

October 13, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Monday sought further arguments from the federal government and petitioners’ lawyer on the petitions field by Al-Arabia Sugar Mills and Faruki Pulp Mills, challenging the FIA inquiries in light of the Sugar Commission’s report.

Al-Arabia Sugar Mills belongs to the PML-N President Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif’s family and Faruki Pulp Mills to Jahangir Khan Tareen. A federal law officer had already undertaken before the court that the administrations of petitioners/companies would not be summoned or coerced by the agency until next hearing.

Both the mills filed the petitions – through their company secretaries – pleading that the action being taken by the FIA was illegal, as it was ordered by the federal cabinet despite having no such jurisdiction.

They said the whole process, including the constitution of Sugar Inquiry Commission and subsequent proceedings by the FIA and Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), had been done on the direction of Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior.

The petitions said the federal cabinet also ordered action against the sugar mills in light of the Commission’s inquiry report. It was further contended that the cabinet had no jurisdiction to hold any individual or organization guilty of any alleged offence.

The impugned inquiries were in violation of the SECP Act, the Companies Act, the Income Tax Ordinance and the Sales Tax Act. The petitions argued that the FIA could initiate proceedings only on a reference sent by the SECP.

They argued that an inquiry being held on the order of the federal government could not be transparent and impartial. The court will resume hearing on Tuesday (today).