Move against sugar cartel

Pakistan Observer

THE hurdle stands removed for government to move against those responsible for sugar crisis in the country as Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday dismissed a petition filed by Sugar Mills Association against sugar commission’s inquiry report. In its short order, IHC observed that constitution of the commission and its report did not violate fundamental rights of the petitioners.

Credit goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking the bold step of not only constituting a commission to investigate artificial shortage of sugar and wheat but taking a step further, unprecedented in country’s history, he also made the report public exposing names of political bigwigs both from ruling and opposition parties who were involved in robbing sugar consumers. Now what people expect from the PM is that action is also taken against those identified in the commission’s report, and that too without any discrimination. Sparing or giving favours out of political compulsions will only mar PTI’s public image, as it will be contrary to Imran Khan’s long held stance against corruption. It is indeed a big test case for the PM as those involved in the scam also include his allies as well as a close aide. Now all eyes will be on the institutions such as NAB and FIA as to how they proceed.

Law should take its own course against sugar cartel without wastage of any time as strict and prompt action against them will also help eliminate mafias and cartels in other businesses including flour. Most importantly, relief must also reach masses in the form of reduction in sugar price. It is surprising that IHC had directed Sugar Mills Association to sell the commodity at Rs 70 per kilo but the order appeared to be fallen on deaf ears as sugar is still being sold in the open market at over Rs 80 per kilo. We will suggest IHC to initiate contempt of court proceedings against sugar mills for not abiding by its order. Then, there has been a significant surge in the price of flour in recent weeks. The government must act fast against this cartel to protect consumers from these thugs.

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