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Mill owners challenge sugar inquiry report in Islamabad High Court

They say the report is unconstitutional

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Jun 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: AFP

The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association challenged on Wednesday the sugar inquiry report in the Islamabad High Court.

The petition said that the inquiry report was “entirely unlawful” and it led to an “unwarranted campaign of vilification and demonisation” against the country’s sugar mills, adding that it denied the “right to due process guaranteed to them by the Constitution”. All sugar mill owners said that they are willing to “answer all questions of fact and law and face the consequences of their actions”.

The sugar inquiry report was issued on May 21, 2020. It revealed the way sugar barons had cheated farmers, benefited from subsidies and created conditions so that the price of sugar could go up. PTI’s Jahangir Tareen was among the ones accused of benefitting the most from the crisis. The report said that six major groups control 51% of the total sugar production. Tareen’s JDW mill has the biggest share that is 20% of the total production.

“The scope of the report exceeds the constitutional mandate and limitations of a federal inquiry commission and trespasses into matters within the exclusive legislative and executive domains of the provinces”, according to the petitioners. They claimed that the report is “illegal, unlawful, opaque, biased and discriminatory”.

It is based on misconceptions, misunderstandings and incorrect facts, they claimed, adding that “there was no sugar shortage in the period under the question”. The petition even said that there was nothing unusual about the permission for export as well as subsidy for exports.

The petitioners have asked the court to declare the report to be “unconstitutional, malicious, [and published] without lawful authority,” and stop government institutions and organisations from giving publicity to the claims made in the report.

The petition was filed by different mills including Al-Arabia Sugar Mills Limited, Alliance Sugar Mills Limited, ALMOIZ Industries Limited, Baba Farid Sugar Mills Limited, Darya Khan Sugar Mills Limited, Deharki Sugar Mills Limited, Hamza Sugar Mills Limited, Hunza Sugar Mills Limited, Indus Sugar Mills Limited, JK Sugar Mills Limited, JDW Sugar Mills Limited, Pattoki Sugar Mills Limited, RYK Mills Limited, Shahtaj Sugar Mills Limited, SW Sugar Mills Limited, and Thal Industries Corporation Limited.

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