PM orders forensic probe into sugar smuggling to Afghanistan
In another development related to the sugar crisis that has rocked the ruling party, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the inquiry commission to submit a forensic report on the issue of smuggling sugar to Afghanistan.
Quoting sources 24NewsHD TV channel reported that 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 a subsidy for export purposes.
24NewsHD reported that FIA DG Wajid Zia had already started working on a forensic report on the prime minister’s orders.
The exercise will help to ascertain how much sugar left the various mills and the quantity exported to other countries.
Earlier, 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 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.
In their reaction, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif had said that it was a charge sheet against Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
He demanded a strict action over the outcome of the inquiry reports containing serious revelations.
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 a tweet that they had allowed sugar export in 2017 and 2018 because of surplus as the production was more than the domestic consumption.
Sheikh sb we allowed subsidy during our govt because the production at 7.1 m tons (in 17) and 6.6 m tons (in 18) was far more than our domestic consumption. See the table below from the FIA supplementary inquiry report and you will see that sugar prices remained stable. https://t.co/FspdfKAJDL pic.twitter.com/65BzIH0kSR— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) April 9, 2020
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 the condition that the price would not increase in the country, he added.