Millers appeal IHC validation of sugar commission report

Updated 30 Jun 2020


Argue the panel has exceeded its mandate. — AFP/File
Argue the panel has exceeded its mandate. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The owners of sugar mills on Monday filed an intracourt appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against its decision to validate the sugar commission report.

The Pakistan Sugar Mills Associa­tion (PSMA) and the owners of sugar mills, including estranged leader of the Pakistan Thereek-i-Insaf (PTI) Jahangir Khan Tareen, his son Ali Khan Tareen, brother of federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar and a son of Leader of the Opposition in the Nati­o­nal Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, had chal­lenged the decision of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah that held that the commission on sugar had been constituted in accordance with the law.

The IHC had issued a short order on June 21 declaring that “the constitution of the Commission vide notification, dated 16.03.2020, read with notification, dated 25.03.2020 and pursuant thereto its proceedings and report, dated 21.05.2020 have not been found to be ultra vires of the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017 nor in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners”.

Argue the panel has exceeded its mandate

“The report, dated 21.05.2020 was, therefore, lawfully considered by the federal cabinet in its meeting held on 21.05.2020,” it ruled.

According to the report of the inquiry commission, headed by Federal Investigation Agency Director General Wajid Zia, Pakistan exported more than four million tonnes of sugar over the past five years and more than Rs29 billion had been given to sugar mills in terms of export subsidy.

The appellants contended before the court that the commission was neither properly constituted nor had it remained confined to its limits, but went beyond its jurisdiction.

The appeal said that increase in sugar prices and this crucial aspect were ignored. The inquiry commission exceeded its mandate. The recommendations of the inquiry commission and its proceedings were not in consonance with the Act of 2017, it contended.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020