IHC issues 10-day restraining order against sugar inquiry commission report

Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Thursday, issued a 10-day restraining order against sugar inquiry commission report.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition filed by Pakistan Sugar Mills Association and 17 other mill owners challenging Sugar Inquiry Commission report citing commission’s failure of fulfilling essential legal formalities and obligations during its investigations.

The Sugar Inquiry Commission Report which was issued on May 21, had accused sugar mill owners of benefitting from illegal subsidies and resorting to increasing sugar price which in result garnered profit worth billions of rupees.

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However, sugar mill owners had objected to the report’s findings. The petition filed by Advocate Salman Akram Raja on behalf of sugar mill owners including the likes of l-Arabia Sugar Mills Limited, Alliance Sugar Mills Limited, ALMOIZ Industries Limited, Baba Farid Sugar Mills Limited, Darya Khan Sugar Mills Limited, Deharki Sugar Mills Limited, Hamza Sugar Mills Limited, Hunza Sugar Mills Limited, Indus Sugar Mills Limited, JK Sugar Mills Limited, JDW Sugar Mills Limited, Pattoki Sugar Mills Limited, RYK Mills Limited, Shahtaj Sugar Mills Limited, SW Sugar Mills Limited, and Thal Industries Corporation Limited states;

“The scope of the Impugned report clearly exceeds the constitutional mandate and limitations of a Federal Commission of Inquiry constituted under the 2017 Act, as it trespasses into matters within the exclusive legislative and executive domains of the Provinces. The entire inquiry has been carried out in a completely illegal, unlawful, opaque, biased and discriminatory manner.

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 “It has been conducted in complete contravention to the requirements of the 2017 Act and the relevant terms of reference. The principle of natural justice as well as the Fundamental Rights of the petitioners including the right to due process, fair trial and non-discrimination have been violated,” it added.

The court, has issued a 10-day restraining order, barring NAB, FIA and other government agencies from taking action against sugar mill owners, whereas directing sugar to be sold at Rs70/kg for the next 10 days.