ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jahangir Khan Tareen on Monday accused a senior bureaucrat of Prime Minister’s Office for “victimizing” him as the tycoon is under fire, both from his own party and the opposition for allegedly having a ‘role’ in the sugar scam.
Tareen, once a close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan, accused the Principal Secretary to the premier for playing his role in bringing thereport of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Inquiry Committee against him.
“Azam Khan is continuously harming PM Imran Khan,” he said while talking to a group of journalists.
He declared that the report of FIA was political in nature and termed it as an attack on him. He also showed his regrets for having role within its own party to bring the report against him.
Last Saturday, the PTI government made public the report of the Inquiry Committee on the increase in sugar prices that had found several leading political figures as major beneficiaries of the “unjustified” sugar export policy of the government.
The political figures included Tareen, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) leader Moonis Elahi and a close relative of federal minister Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar besides others.
Tareen said that an incomplete report was released just to make him a target. He further said that was in contact with the PM and he stood by him. He said that FIA report failed to answer basic questions and added that an increase in support price of sugarcane caused an increase in the sugar prices.
He said that the decision to export sugar could be wrong if there were not enough stocks available in the country. “There were 4, 57000 tons of surplus sugar available in the country in November 2019.” He said that government used to provide subsidy on sugar to increase its exports.
The PTI leader in a twitter post said that he was concealing nothing from the Inquiry Commission that is now holding forensic audit of the some sugar mills including those owned by his business group.
The sugar inquiry commission has been actively engaging with about 10 mills, including 3 of mine. We are sharing all records asked for. We have given free access even to our server. Nothing has been seized as we are fulfilling all requests. We have nothing to hide.”
In another Twitter post, he refuted some media reports about his removal as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Agriculture. “I was never chairman of any task force, he said and asked if anyone can show him a notification of his appointment as chairman. However, PTI sources said that the PTI government had been taken input from Tareen on matters of agriculture and livestock.
On the other hand, former finance minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, Miftah Ismail took to the twitter and said that according to FIA report, the production of sugar in Pakistan declined from 6.6 million tons in 2017-18 (PML-N’s last year in government) to only 5.2 million tons. “This reduction of 1.4 m tons in sugar meant there was no reason to export.”
“During PML-N tenure in 2016-17, sugar production was 7.1 m tons and in 2017-18, it was 6.6 million tons. The dollar was at Rs 105. So we allowed exports,” he said in a Tweet adding that there was no reason to allow exports with reduction in production and prices rising.
He said that the price of sugar was stable at Rs 55 per kg up to Nov/Dec 2018 but “this was unacceptable to powers that be.” Thus export was allowed and price started moving up, Miftah said and add that then when price started to decline from Sept 2019, again Economic Coordination Committee and cabinet came to the rescue of the sugar industry & allowed more exports.