ISLAMABAD: Alleging that “influential government members are involved in the wheat and sugar mega corruption heist,” the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has called for a ‘thorough search’ of the stocks and record of the mills owned by former secretary general of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Jahangir Tareen and Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar.
PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in a statement alleged that the PTI government was the ‘culprit’ behind the sugar crisis.
The opposition leader said “the corrupt hoard of self-enrichment driven PTI gang first exported sugar to make money and create a shortage and is now importing sugar to mint billions off people’s misery.”
“Imran Khan oversaw this mega corruption scandal to ensure his ATMs get thoroughly loaded to later serve him with their ill-gotten wealth from corruption,” he alleged.
Mr Sharif, who has been in London with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, urged the government to release the names of the top three government officials importing sugar.
Seeks names of top three government officials importing sugar
“If the government is not [comprised] of corrupt looters why doesn’t it constitute a parliamentary committee to expose the culprits? The committee will investigate who profited the most from this crisis and who is responsible for this robbery,” he added.
“The only reason why the investigation committee hasn’t released any report is that [Imran Khan] Niazi and his ministers are guilty,” he said.
Mr Sharif expressed concern and alarm over the ‘destruction’ of Pakistan’s economy by the PTI. He said the PTI begging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lower the bar of Rs800 billion was a declaration of the country’s economic annihilation. He said the expected 9.5 per cent deficit was a doomsday scenario for the nation.
Stating that “the corrupt and incompetent” PTI was the only one to blame for this state of the country, the PML-N president warned that this fiscal deficit was screaming that Pakistan would be drowned under the coming tsunami of internal debt, external debt and unimaginable inflation.
He said those who had broken all records by borrowing Rs11,610 billion in just 18 months were the “culprits of the nation”. This, he said, was more than one-third of the risk debt borrowed in the past 72 years. He said coming many generations would have to pay the price for this “incompetence and corruption of the Niazi government”.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb called for a “thorough search” of the sugar mills of Mr Tareen and Mr Bakhtiar.
She said Prime Minister Imran Khan was yet to disclose how much sugar was hoarded in the sugar mills of influential people within the ranks of the government.
“Imran Khan is leading this entire illegal profiteering mafia that has created these wheat and sugar crises and has already made billions by robbing the country and its people. When will Imran tell why is the so-called anti-corruption PTI leader so scared of a parliamentary probe into this matter?” she asked.
“When will Imran reign in his friends who have made life miserable for the entire country? When will Imran explain to Pakistanis how did his friends steal national wealth and made billions after creating this crisis right under his nose?”
Ms Aurangzeb also slammed the confiscation of the house of former finance minister Ishaq Dar by the government and turning it into a public soup kitchen.
“Strongly condemning the act,” she said, this showed the frustration and desperation of the “Imran-led mafia” which had been embarrassed and falsified at all judicial fronts. “These are the people who promised five million houses but have delivered zilch. They are trying to mend the economy with soup kitchens but they are not even able to do that and now are confiscating houses of political rivals for this purpose. The political rivals who actually served Pakistan in such a way that international monetary institutions acknowledged Pakistan as the fastest growing economy of South Asia,” she said.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2020