ISLAMABAD – Pakistani leader Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jahangir Khan Tareen, on Monday accused a senior bureaucrat of the Prime Minister’s Office for “making him a victim” when the tycoon was criticized, both from his own party and from the opposition for allegedly having a “role” in sugar fraud .
Tareen, who had been a close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan, accused the Principal Secretary of being prime minister for playing his role in bringing the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Investigation Committee’s report to him.
“Azam Khan continues to harm Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said while talking to a group of reporters.
He stated that the FIA report was political and called it an attack on him. He also showed remorse for having a role in his own party to bring the report that accused him.
Last Saturday, the PTI government published a report of the Investigative Committee on rising sugar prices which had found several prominent political figures as the main beneficiaries of the government’s “unjustified” sugar export policy.
Political figures include Tareen, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) Moonis Elahi and a close relative of federal minister Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar among others.
Tareen said that an incomplete report was released just to make it a target. He further said that there was contact with the PM and he was standing nearby. He said that the FIA report failed to answer basic questions and added that the increase in the price of sugar cane support led to an increase in the price of sugar.
He said that the decision to export sugar could be wrong if there was not enough stock available in the country. “There are 4,557 tons of excess sugar available in the country in November 2019.” He said that the government used to provide sugar subsidies to increase its exports.
The PTI leader in a Twitter post said that he did not hide anything from the Investigation Commission which is now conducting forensic audits of several sugar factories including those owned by its business group.
The sugar inquiry commission has been actively involved with about 10 factories, including 3 of mine. We share all requested notes. We have given free access even to our server. Nothing was confiscated because we fulfilled all requests. We have nothing to hide. “
On another Twitter post, he denied several media reports about his dismissal as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Agricultural Task Force. “I have never been the chair of any task force, he said and asked if anyone could show the notice of his appointment as chairman. However, PTI sources said that the PTI government had taken input from Tareen on issues of agriculture and animal husbandry.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s former finance minister and leader of the Muslim-Nawaz (PML-N) Miftah Ismail took to Twitter and said that according to the FIA report, sugar production in Pakistan declined from 6.6 million tons in 2017-18 (PML- N last year in government) to only 5.2 million tons. “The reduction of 1.4 m tons of sugar means there is no reason to export.”
“During the PML-N period in 2016-17, sugar production was 7.1 million tons and in 2017-18, 6.6 million tons. The dollar is at Rs 105. So we allow exports, “he said in a Tweet adding that there is no reason to allow exports by reducing production and rising prices.
He said that the price of sugar was stable at Rs 55 per kg until November / December 2018 but “this is not acceptable to existing forces.” Thus exports were permitted and prices began to move up, Miftah said and added that later when prices began to decline from September 2019, the Economic Coordination Committee and the cabinet came to save the sugar industry & allowed more exports.
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