Shahbaz’s son key figure in sugar scandal: minister

Updated May 29 2020


Shibli Faraz hints at action against Salman in coming days. — APP/File
Shibli Faraz hints at action against Salman in coming days. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Thursday accused Salman Shahbaz, son of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif, of being the central figure in the mega-sugar scandal and announced that action against him would be taken in coming days.

Addressing a press conference, he alleged that the Sharif family was the patron of the sugar mafia in the country. “When Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had accidentally become the prime minister, he proved his worth as a loyal and faithful party member by facilitating Salman Shahbaz,” he added.

He alleged that during the tenure of former PM Abbasi decisions were taken against the interests of the nation and regulations and norms were ignored to facilitate the sugar mafia.

Using a slang, the minister said Salman Shahbaz had become “sugar daddy”. “Only to please his sugar daddy, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi provided huge subsidies to sugar exporters,” he said, adding that the decisions were taken not in the interests of the nation, but for the benefit of a few people only.

Answering some questions, the minister said there were many misgivings about the sugar scandal report, but all were proven wrong due to firm resolve of the government to expose corruption and the corrupt.

Shibli Faraz hints at action against Salman in coming days

“People used to say that the report will not be released, but it was finalised. Then it was said that there will be no forensics of it, but it happened,” the minister said, adding: “Now I am telling you that in the next 8-10 days you will see the implementation side of this report.”

He said “people want to see the sugar price come down and that is the target of this report”.

The minister reiterated the resolve of the government to take action against all other mafias in the country.

He alleged that the PML-N had a track record of financial corruption and its leaders had mastered the art of massive misappropriations. A report prepared by Senator Mohsin Aziz has exposed all those misappropriations. Soon after assuming the office, former finance minister Ishaq Dar had released Rs486 billion to IPPs (independent power producers), he said, adding that serious objections were made by the auditor general over that payment.

When questioned about concerns the Sindh government has expressed over policies of the federal government for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the minister lambasted the leadership of both the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-N for what he called playing politics on a serious issue.

He claimed that the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had agreed to all decisions during the meeting of the National Command and Operations Centre. But, he added, when he went back to his province he gave opposite statements. “The Sindh CM was concerned about the political future of his party leaders,” the minister said and accused CM Shah of facilitating the Omni group as highlighted in the sugar scandal report. “We know who is behind the Omni group.”

He called the leaderships of both the PPP and PML-N as ‘scavengers’, saying that Shahbaz Sharif had come back to the country only to exploit the situation and CM Shah wanted a complete lockdown to create poverty, hunger and chaos in the country. “Now they are politicising the issue of locust attack. These people have drained the blood of the masses”.

Mr Faraz said that the nation would never forgive those who ruined the future of the nation’s children for the benefit of their children. “The only difference between Imran Khan and these people is that they work for their families and Imran Khan has even sacrificed most senior party members when it came to national interest,” the minister added.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020