Jahangir Tareen critical of sugar forensic audit criteria

By: News Desk      Published: 03:41 PM, 10 Apr, 2020
Jahangir Tareen critical of sugar forensic audit criteria

PTI leader Jahangir Tareen – who was once the most trusted aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan – on Friday questioned the criteria used to select nine sugar mills for forensic audit.

In a series of tweets, Tareen said he had no objection whatsoever over the forensic audit of his sugar mills, as he had nothing to hide.

However, he added, that the Sugar Inquiry Commission, or whoever took the decision – in an apparent reference to the prime minister – must answer the question why only a targeted bunch of sugar mills were being audited.

Tareen was replying to a tweet posted by a TV anchor who had initially raised the issue by also questioning why others were not part of it, as she claimed, “the owners of which have always been part of the power corridors and exert considerable political influence”.

The TV anchor had also questioned: “Why does the Sugar JIT seem influenced?” And Tareen fully agreed with her and seconded her views.

The PTI leader also asked another query: “Does the commission believe that by doing a forensic audit of 9 sugar mills only, they can get a complete picture of the total sugar industry of Pakistan, which has 80 sugar mills?”

Earlier in the day, 24NewsHD had reported that Imran Khan had ordered the inquiry commission to submit a forensic report on the issue of smuggling sugar to Afghanistan.

According to sources, the sugar was smuggled to the neighbouring country via Chaman and Torkham border with the help of Customs officials. This illegal act was committed after getting subsidy for export purposes.

Meanwhile, FIA DG Wajid Zia had already started working on forensic report on the prime minister’s orders.

The exercise will help ascertaining how much sugar left the various mills and the quantity exported to other countries.

The move came as Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak and some other cabinet members stated that around 80 percent was smuggled.

The PTI government has been facing severe criticism after the FIA said a top party leader Jahangir Tareen, Federal Minister for Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar, PML-Q’s Moonis Elahi and their relatives were responsible for the crisis.

Later, the government had removed Tareen from the post of Agriculture Task Force chairman followed by a reshuffle in the cabinet.

However, the government has been saying that it was the PML-N which had granted subsidy during its tenure and also allowed export during that period.

The ministers and other party members have also been saying that the PTI government did not give any subsidy.

However, former finance minister Miftah Ismail said in tweet that they had allowed sugar export in 2017 and 2018 because of surplus as the production was more than the domestic consumption.

He also mentioned that Ishaq Dar had allowed export during his stint as finance minister on “piecemeal” basis and there was no “all at once” approach. Moreover, Dar had also subjected the export to condition that the price would not increase in the country, he added.