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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Sugar mafia hurled threats when probe began: PM

Talking to a delegation of farmers and growers at the Prime Minister’s House here, Imran said he became prime minister by dint of struggle and was not part of any lobby or business interest.

June 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said he was neither part of any lobby nor did he have any business interests.

Talking to a delegation of farmers and growers at the Prime Minister’s House here, Imran said he became prime minister by dint of struggle and was not part of any lobby or business interest. The farmers and growers briefed the prime minister on their problems.

Imran recalled that when they were growing up, they would see the country going up and then coming down. “The reason is that there’s injustice in the country. The people who will do justice in the land of Allah will prosper, as the greatest thing in the law is justice.”

“As soon as we came to power, we saw that the price of sugar was going up but the farmers were not getting the fixed price and the industry was a mafia, which used to sell expensive sugar,” he said.

The mafia, he said, neither gave money to the farmers nor paid taxes to the government taking advantage of the corrupt system. Imran said his struggle was against the corruption of rulers because it had destroyed the country.

He said the rulers of third world or developing countries stole money and took it out and all the countries had the same story. “The Sugar Mills Association was so powerful that when the FIA initially launched an investigation, they threatened that if the FIA did the investigation, they will make the sugar disappear and the price will go up further,” he noted.

He said it was a very difficult situation, as all the powerful people were sitting in the same row and belonged to all the parties. He said agricultural sector could take the motherland on the path of rapid development in a short period of time.

“In this regard, we have done so much that the farmers got the money for sugarcane in time and in full. The sugar mill gave the price to farmers at the right time bringing prosperity to the farmers and villages. Record production was done and all the crops except cotton did very well,” he pointed out.

He assured the farmers that now the government will not stop but move on. “We will continue to meet you and Fakhar Zaman and Jamshed will meet farmers all over Pakistan to find out their problems,” he said.

Imran said the world had developed a lot adding that there’s still a lot of room for improvement in livestock. “We can help you with the cooperation of China. We will introduce you to different techniques so that you can tell us what kind of products you need to grow your business.”

He said the large scale industry in Pakistan had developed very well adding that industry was very important for Pakistan and without it the country could not repay loans.

The prime minister attributed the high cost of electricity to the agreements signed by the previous governments and said if the government did not increase the prices, then circular debt will increase and if it increased the prices, the industry and farmers will make a fuss.

“That is why we are thinking of running tube wells on solar energy because now the prices of solar products are falling sharply,” he noted.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry Tuesday said there was no question of giving airbases to the US and currently no talks were being held with any country in this regard.

He was briefing the media persons about the cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister here. The minister contended that after the PTI came to power, even the surveillance facilities of drones had been withdrawn and said all the airbases were in the use of Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had given a detailed policy statement on the issue of airbases. Regarding the incident in Ontario, resulting in the death of four members of a Muslim Pakistan-origin family, he said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan is the only Muslim leader, who has conveyed to the Western countries repeatedly about how Islamophobia had penetrated in their societies, urging their rulers for action against the same”.

He noted that Premier Imran had time and again pointed out that the world was moving towards a new crisis in relation to Islamophobia. The minister strongly condemned the brutal killing of the Pakistan-origin family and said they were subjected to the hate crime just because they were Pakistani Muslims.

The minister said the incident had again drawn the world community’s attention towards the rising trend of Islamophobia against which there was a need to take measures. Unfortunately, the Western countries used to taunt the Muslim countries of being fundamentalist and now they need retrospection to counter Islamophobia that has crept in their societies, having changed the entire scenario, he said.

Responding to a question, he said the railway system must be improved but it could not be fixed by blowing the whistle. The PMLN, he said, had been in power for so long but it did no done work on the railway tracks nor did the PPP during its rule.

He said the PPP and PMLN had destroyed the institutions like termites and the PTI government had to rebuild every institution. He said after the completion of M-1 project, the railway system will be modernised but it was difficult to fix it immediately.

Replying to a question on talks with the opposition, he said they wanted to talk to the PMLN and PPP, and first representatives from both the parties should be nominated for talks on the electoral reforms.

He condemned the PMLN’s action of moving court against the government bid to grant voting right to the overseas Pakistanis and said now they looked forward to the PPP’s viewpoint on this and the proposed electoral reforms so that they could move forward.

Coming down hard on the opposition parties, he regretted that Zardaris were turning a big party like PPP into a nationalist party of a province, while on the other hand, the politics of PMLN was limited to the GT Road only.

“The PPP and PML-N are now fighting like children and their politics is falling apart,” he said and took exception to the PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s statement about Punjab and water and the Sindh chief minister’s statement regarding the PSDP.

He recalled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had risen politically from the Punjab.

Referring to the electronic voting machine, Fawad said the technological part of the electronic voting machine had been completed and now the Ministry of Science and Technology was going to give a demo of the machine to the Election Commission this week.

He said the Ministry of Information would soon order 500 electronic voting machines for elections of bars and press clubs. With respect to the legislation on the proposed electronic voting machines, Fawad said they awaited the National Assembly’s nod.

“We have been inviting the opposition to deliberate on the matter to come up with a joint solution and are determined to give the overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, keeping in view their landmark services to Pakistan. The cabinet also decided re-recording of the national anthem which was currently in analog, along modern lines.

The cabinet approved appointing an independent chairman and board of directors of the First Women Bank, which will help speedy privatisation of the bank. He said Tariq Malik had been appointed as the new chairman of Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) in view of his vast experience and being one of the founders of the Authority.

There have been more than 60 appointments of heads of various bodies during the government’s tenure and all have been made transparently and none had been challenged in the courts, he added.

Fawad said a comprehensive draft with regard to the criminal law reforms had been submitted to Premier Imran Khan and after its approval, it will be implemented. Regarding the Ehsaas programme, Fawad said 91 per cent survey regarding the new disbursements under the programme had been completed and more people would be included to benefit from the facility.

Regarding the opposition, he said their narrative on the ruining of the economy had been smashed with reference to so many positive indicators, like the current account deficit and GDP growth recorded at 4 per cent despite the challenges like corona. About the long-pending Rs91 billion net hydel profits of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said the payments would be started in six months for which a committee had been formed.