Politicians involved in Sugar Crisis


The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday submitted before the Supreme Court a report on sugar crisis, holding politicians as well as sitting ministers and parliamentarians responsible for hoarding of 316,690 metric tons of sugar.

The report was submitted before a two-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice M Javed Buttar hearing the case of hike in daily use commodities case.

According to the report, Humanyun Akhtar, the sitting Federal Minister for Commerce, and his brother Haroon Akhtar, along with their cousin Shamim, were the biggest hoarders of sugar with a consolidated stock of 99,464 metric tons at four sugar mills — Kamalia, Tandliana, Wala Miran and Layyah.

Similarly, the second key recipient is former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, along with his brother Shabaz Sharif, with a consolidated hoarding of 68,648 metric tons at three mills. A cousin of Nawaz Sharif has also been accused of hoarding 10,344 metric tons at Ittefaq Sugar Mills.

Likewise, Minister for Industries and Production Jehangir Tareen remained the third beneficiary who has been nominated as hoarder of 46,920 metric ton sugar. Besides, there are names of Nasrullah Dareshak, Anwer Cheema, MNA, Mian Azhar, Ch Shujaat Hussain, Mian Altaf Saleem, Asif Ali Zardari (Benazir Bhutto’s husband) and Sikandar.

The report revealed that PML (ruling party) president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and owner of Punjab Sugar Mills hoarded 5,459 metric tons of sugar; Mian Altaf Saleem, owner of Shakar Sugar Mills hoarded 22,104 metric tons; Nasrullah Dareshak, owner of Indus Sugar Mills, 20,288 metric tons, Anwar Cheema, MNA and owner of National Sugar Mills 1,575 metric tons, Mian Azhar, owner of Pattoki Sugar Mills, 4,880 metric tons, Asif Ali Zardari, spouse of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto and owner of Ansari Sugar Mills 8,377 metric tons.

These people were nominated in the preliminary fact-finding report on sugar crisis on February 17, 2006, and it covered a period of sugar crisis in the country from December 2004 to the first quarter of 2006 during which the price of sugar shot from Rs 21 to Rs 45.

The NAB probe reported that in December 2004, owners of sugar mills in the Punjab took a unilateral decision to increase the ex-factory price by Rs 6 per kilogram, which was further escalated without any concrete justification. The NAB inquiry accused the federal government of not intervening in a pro-active manner to check the crisis.

Although, the federal government did introduce some measures like duty free import of raw sugar and refined sugar as well as sale of sugar at subsidized rates at Utility Stores but these measures did not work.

The report alleged that the sugar industry in Pakistan was predominantly owned by politicians, some of them despite being in the government had acted contrary to the business laws and hoarded sugar.

It is pertinent to mention here that the opposition during the earlier session of the National Assembly and the Senate repeatedly raised hue and cry over the sugar crisis and had alleged the government for creating a sugar crisis in the country. The opposition legislators on the of both houses of Parliament repeatedly demanded of the government as well as the NAB to probe the issue.

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=9522

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