Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shehzad Akbar has said that the report of the Sugar Crisis Commission is a charge sheet against PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Talking to media in Lahore, Shehzad Akbar said that Shahid Khan Abbasi gave a subsidy of Rs. 20 billion on sugar to sugar mills on 24-hour notice without properly determining the production of sugar so that they could export.
Referring to paragraph 209 of the commission report, Shehzad Akbar said, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi could not give an answer regarding the subsidy and did not produce any document.”
“Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is so loyal to his boss (Shahbaz Sharif) that he gave a subsidy of Rs 20 billion at the request of his nephew (Suleiman or Hamza Shahbaz),” the special assistant said.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had allowed the export of sugar after the approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and not subsidized it.
He read out a passage from the commission’s report that “it is true that the country needed foreign exchange and there was plenty of sugar that could be exported.”
Shehzad Akbar said that the commission attributed the root cause of the sugar crisis to the nexus of market and sugar mills.
He said that the commission had twice summoned the Sindh Chief Minister in writing but he did not appear. ECC member Asad Umar also appeared and answered all the questions.
The Special Assistant also slammed PML-N President and former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
He said that the report of the commission mentions the deeds of Shahbaz Sharif in detail.
Shehzad Akbar said that when PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif was the Chief Minister of Punjab, Al-Arabiya Sugar Mills under his supervision paid less than Rs1.5 billion to the farmers.
Referring to paragraph 422, page 119 of the sugar Crisis Commission report, he said that the former Punjab Chief Minister had asked the farmers to submit a report to the Special Branch for transparent payment of support prize and later revealed in the report that Shahbaz Sharif violated the rights of farmers.
Shehzad Akbar said that Shahbaz Sharif’s entire family is a shareholder of Al-Arabiya Sugar Mills, farmers and consumers are in dire straits but Sugar Mills are at ease.
Addressing Shahbaz Sharif, the Special Assistant asked what greater proof was needed.
Shehzad Akbar said that Al Arabiya Sugar Mills had two ledger boxes with ‘N and R’ written on them.
He further explained that the ledger book with ‘N’ on it meant that sugarcane was bought and sugar was also made but did not disclose that.
He said that a reference was about to be filed against Shahbaz Sharif after which he had quarantined himself.
Shehzad Akbar said that “all ways of the escape are closed for Shahbaz Sharif, he may not even be able to go to London”.