Opposition leader at the National Assembly and PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for the delay in a report submitted by the sugar inquiry commission and called it “evidence of the prime minister’s guilt”.
The statement came a day after the Sugar Forensic Commission (SFC) requested an extension of three weeks to submit the report. The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar in a Twitter post on Saturday said that the commission had requested an extension and the federal cabinet would consider their request on Tuesday.
“The delay in the report is a validation of government theft of Rs100 billion. This is an effort to protect those responsible for the sugar crisis,” Shehbaz said in a statement.
He added that “hiding reports will not hide Imran Khan’s crimes. The nation is aware of who is stealing wheat and sugar. There is no need for forensic investigations or audits.”
Shehbaz alleges that the federal cabinet, the Economic Coordination Committee and “those who have agreed to subsidies” are responsible for the crisis. He also asked PML-N members Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khurram Dastagir to be included in the inquiry commission, adding that “the problem will become clear”.
The SFC was formed by the government in the first week of April after the release of two separate investigations report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the problem of shortages of sugar and artificial wheat in the country and the sudden increase in their prices last year.
The sugar investigation report has revealed the names of many high-ranking officials, including Jahangir Tareen, former ruling Pakistan secretary general Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a close confidant of the prime minister, who allegedly benefited from the crisis.
After the release of the report, the opposition had demanded that the prime minister take firm action against those who had been declared responsible for the crisis by the FIA committee.
Prime Minister Khan has promised to take action, but said that he would do so after receiving a forensic audit report from the commission he compiled based on recommendations from the ‘initial’ report. The commission consists of officials from a number of institutions and departments including the Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Revenue Board.
‘Targeting PM to save his own political presence’
Prime Minister of Information and Broadcasting Special Assistant Firdous Ashiq Awan criticized Shehbaz for “conducting politics at the time of the coronavirus, even though the prime minister had urged to refrain from doing so”.
Speaking at a press conference in Sialkot, Awan said that Shehbaz was trying to “save his political presence” by bringing charges against Imran Khan. “Some people have too much free time, they socially distance themselves in the political arena so they throw bombs at Imran Khan.”
SAPM went on to say that such a commission had been made in Pakistan for “the first time”. He added that the commission had been given a mandate and needed time to conduct a forensic audit and analysis which was why the commission asked for more time.
He added that PTI was taking a “cross-accountability” process going forward and questioned Shehbaz if he had done the same for his family. “Imran Khan has no family [involved in the sugar crisis] that he needs to protect. When PML-N the uncle gave help to his niece. Why don’t you take responsibility for your own family first?
“Imran Khan and his government will be released before the state [when the report comes], “he added.
He urged political leaders, especially opposition members to join the government’s efforts to provide assistance to people amid a corona virus outbreak. “No government can defeat a challenge of this magnitude unless the government and opposition unite for the sake of the people”.
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