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LAHORE: The government is tightening the noose around those who have been arbitrarily changing the prices of sugar, said Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar on Thursday.

According to him, an FIR has been registered against the ‘sugar mafia’ including the mill owned by Jahangir Tareen, Salman Shahbaz and Hamza Shahbaz.

Addressing a press conference along with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar here on Thursday, Shahzad Akbar said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) conducted a major operation against ‘sugar mafia’ which was planning to hike sugar prices ahead of Ramazan. “It was very important to break this network of sugar mafia,” he added. “They (mafia) had created their own chain through WhatsApp groups. The whole network was uncovered during the operation. These people are not registered. However, now all brokers and sale dealers will be registered. The track and trace system will be implemented by June,” he said.

Akbar alleged that these (JDW of Tareen and those of Salman-Hamza) are the two big groups, backing the ‘sugar mafia’. “Prices [of essential commodities] cannot go up or down without these groups,” he added.

Talking about Maryam Nawaz’s appearance before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said “she is facing allegations of money laundering and not being summoned to give any lecture. She is threatening to attack the institutions.” He added that Rangers and police will be deployed on the occasion of her appearance before the NAB.

Shahzad Akbar said there is a risk of law and order on that occasion, adding that “Maryam Nawaz Sharif had attacked NAB earlier and it is an old way of ‘mafia’ that if any institution asks them questions, they attack it.”

Asked about the Broadsheet Commission report, he said the report already presented to the PM will be placed before the cabinet which will decide about making it public or not. In this report, all the affairs have been highlighted, he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said the government has decided to regulate the system of sugar releases and no dealer will be allowed to stock not more than 2.5 metric tonnes of sugar.

The CM said sugar mills will not be allowed to sell sugar to unregistered dealers. In case the registered dealers intend to stock excess sugar, they would get permission from the concerned deputy commissioners. He added that sugar mills and dealers will be bound to present their entire record to the Cane Commissioner.

The chief minister said “Nobody will be allowed to create artificial price hike of sugar or any other essential item.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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