LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill Saturday said the Competitive Commission of Pakistan (CCP) imposed Rs44 billion fine on 81 sugar mills over embezzlement, corruption and exploitation of farmers.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the biggest amount of fine, Rs300 million, had been imposed on the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) for its persistent anti-competitive practice.
He said two of the four members of the CCP imposed fine immediately and two others wanted further investigation. He said the CCP existed even before the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, but it always remained silent on the corruption of sugar mafia because of involvement of politicians in it. He said the law was equal for all and whoever committed crime/ corruption would be held accountable under the law. He claimed that the sugar mills owners always blackmailed the government and got subsidies, but Prime Minister Imran Khan was the only ruler who could not be blackmailed.
He said for the last several year, a subsidy of Rs30 billion was being given to sugar mills, adding that the PTI government stopped that subsidy and provided relief to people and farmers.
Why so many landlords came to politics, establish sugar mills or TV channels, questioned the SAPM and replied that they wanted to get benefits from the government and make more money.
He said the PSMA had set up zonal committees in Punjab for determining the price, stock in the market and make their own decisions in that regard.
He said the PSMA stopped crushing at 15 sugar mills illegally in the Punjab zone from Dec 30, 2019 to Jan 11, 2020, adding that during that period, farmers suffered severe losses and stood in lines outside the mills for several days, resulting in reduction in weight of sugarcane. He said the PSMA sold 20,000 metric tonnes of sugar to utility stores in 2019 and made a lot of money, adding that he was eyewitness in Punjab that the owners of sugar mills blackmailed the government and took subsidies from it.
Shahbaz Gill said that for the first time in the history, Prime Minister Imran Khan had tightened the noose around their necks, adding that he would recover looted money from every corrupt person/ mafia and return it to farmers.
He said the sugar business people were present in every sector like politics, businesses, bureaucracy and other powerful sectors of the country; therefore, they influenced the accountability process. He urged the nation to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Imran Khan against mafias.