ISLAMABAD: Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan was not responsible for the inquiry commission formed to investigate the sugar crisis.
This he said after appearing in front of the inquiry panel to record his statement in this matter as chair of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is not responsible to the commission because I led the ECC at that time,” said Asad Umar, adding “the prime minister will not disappoint the country.”
“The final report will be released within a few days and then a decision will be made based on its findings.”
On another extension question for the panel, the minister said he did not know anything in this matter.
The planning minister had previously stated his intention to appear before the commission asking for subsidies from sugar factory owners and exporters.
Rejecting Asad Umar’s statement, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “the cabinet’s decision was taken with the PM’s approval so that he is responsible for this.”
Speaking with Aapas Ki Baat’s Geo News program, Abbasi said he said he did not know anything or he was satisfied with this.
Abbasi has also appeared before the commission on Sunday and has recommended that the incumbent planning minister be called in.
In a post on Twitter, Umar said the cabinet had made a decision based on ECC recommendations, so he and not Prime Minister Imran Khan had to appear before the commission to provide an explanation for it.
The minister has responded to the accusation of the previous PML-N leader against the Pakistani government Tehreek-e-Insaaf about the sugar crisis. He has noted that Abbasi has asked the commission to conduct an inquiry into PM Imran and the cabinet regarding the sugar crisis.
However, if there are doubts in this matter, the commission may call for further investigation.
CM Buzdar was called
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has also been summoned by the commission to testify to the accusation of giving Rs 3 billion subsidies to factories in a hurry in 2019.
The commission investigating this unusual increase in sugar prices has expanded the scope of its investigation by calling on almost all decision makers who have been involved in approving subsidies and dealing with sugar exports and imports in the last five years.
An official source confirmed to Geo News on Tuesday that the commission will record the statement of the chief minister today.
“The PM must question his cabinet”
Speaking to media outside the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Sunday, where he had met the head of the wheat and sugar crisis investigation commission Wajid Zia to record his statement, Abbasi said the decision taken by the ECC and the federal cabinet led to a rise in sugar prices in throughout Pakistan earlier this year.
He said the prime minister must question his cabinet on rising sugar prices and that a green signal to export sugar is given even though there is no surplus available in the country. For 16 months, sugar exports continued but the government failed to pay attention.
Abbasi also said there should be an import tax to ensure sugar cannot be imported. “This situation proves that the prime minister is corrupt,” said the senior PML-N leader.
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