Sugar Scandal and Pakistan’s NAB – Fictitious and Shaky Truths

19 08 2007

With news coming in of a possible marriage between Democracy and dictatorship in Pakistan. The charred and debased institution of NAB is up against the former democratic leaders in the Sugar Scandal.

Below is an excerpts from Business Recorder’s editorial (www.brecorder.com)

EDITORIAL (August 19 2007): In a report it presented before the Supreme Court recently, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lent credence to rumours that blamed the sugar crisis of 2004-06 on the who-is-who list of Pakistani politicians.It names PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Federal Ministers Humayun Akhtar and Jehangir Tareen, Altaf Saleem, Nasarullah Dareshak, Anwer Cheema, and PML leader Mian Azhar, who between them are alleged to have hoarded as much as 316,690 metric tons of sugar, pushing its price up from Rs 21 to Rs 45 per kg.

According to the NAB report, Humayun Akhtar, his brother Haroon Akhtar and their cousin Shamim were the biggest hoarders with a consolidated stock of 99,464 metric tons of sugar at the Kamalia, Tandlianwala, Miran and Layyah mills. At the second position were the two Sharif brothers’ whose three mills stashed away 68,648 metric tons. Haroon Akhtar has strongly countered the report in a press release issued on Friday, saying.

“The reasons given for sugar price hike in 2004-06 and other facts in the report are totally fabricated and concocted”. He explained that the Tandlianwala Sugar Mill, of which he is the chief executive, is incorrectly grouped with Kamalia and Layyah to give the impression that his group had the largest sugar stock at a certain point in time.

That may be a valid explanation. He also gave a detailed account of how and when the stock positions are at their highest and lowest points, depending on the crop related seasonal factors.

It was only normal for the mills to have rapidly rising stocks in November-March period, and to store ‘excess sugar’ to be sold in the following months. In other words, the sugar crisis was not the outcome of any law breaking on the part of the mill owners.

But the press release went on to accuse the “sponsors” of the NAB report of “mala fide intent.” It completely trashed the report, saying that it was prepared without any research or analysis, and its frequent leakage to the media was politically motivated to defame certain people in the industry. It remains a mystery though why NAB would want to defame politicians most of whom belong to the ruling party.

In fact, NAB did not do itself any good when it quietly shelved its inquiry in March 2006 amid public accusations that most of those involved in the sugar crisis held important public positions, and hence got away with scandalous profiteering in such a sensitive food item as sugar.

Between them the industry representatives and NAB have been creating confusion with regard to the real reasons and the identity of those behind the sugar crisis. The two sides give entirely differing versions of what happened. It may be recalled that poor sugarcane crop was said to have led to sugar shortages and price hike.

The press release issued by TSML chief executive reiterated that a severe shortage of sugarcane in 2004-05 due to drought increased the sugarcane prices manifold. The NAB report agrees about the shortage, but says it was created artificially by the “mill owners’ front men” who bought the commodity in bulk, contributing to the price surge.

“This rampant malpractice,” avers the report, “has been an upfront justification by the mill owners to jack up the sugar prices.” It is a pretty serious allegation.

Also bewildering is the NAB explanation that its inquiry was creating an upheaval in the market and therefore it was discontinued to restore market stability. Those whose names appear on the hoarders’ list owe it to themselves to clear their names and the NAB inquiry must be brought to its logical culmination.

NAB, now being efficiently being manipulated to promote the PPP, renders itself to be prescribed a therapy in the ICU supervised by the Supreme Court. NAB, which if utilised unbiased, would come a long way in correcting the undoings of many. But taking the first step for the longer miles is indeed the daunting step nobody which is ready to discover. But the Supreme Court has indeed, broken the silence and the ice. NAB should accordingly open the cases of all the politicians, living or otherwise. When donkeys can be court martialled in the Military, why not the civilians. After all, Europe and Americas fed centuries to have culminated to what they are.

Simple legislation and moral respect of the same is expected. But who is to do the cleaning up of the dirty work, which is high-dividend paying and aptly encashing. Destructuring the infrastructure, relieving the masses, deflowering the black flower which sustains on the poor’s hard earned taxes, seems a fallacy but nonetheless possible. Much would have to be given up. Still its not too late to rediscover.

Not only Nawaz Sharif, Benazir, who recently requested ‘general’ acquittance for all politicians is no boon, should also be tried. She is Oxford educated, why doesn’t she initiate her election campaign from there? She can’t, as Laws have to be abided, which our politicians have to learnt to bypass so efficiently and land themselves into the mansions.

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8 responses

20 08 2007
Ali from Lahore, Pakistan

Well said. I couldnt agree more. “Justice for all” should be the slogan of the century. Hazrar Omer said that if a dog dies of thirst by the side of the river, even that would be my fault. Its time President Musharraff emulated that example. We need another Hazrat Umer!

28 09 2007
Qurratulain Akhtar

That’s the making of a ‘country of rich people’, and we need some political harpic to clean this dirt, not sure who will made such!

31 10 2007
Tayyab Azim

Its a pity story, seeing your own country and watching your very own people in such a bad position just because of few blacksheeps is really a bad feeling.I wish I had been in power, these guys wouldnot have been of the hook in that case, and by “I” I mean the people (awam) of Pakistan.Long live Pakistan

11 12 2008
usman ali khan

ALLAH TALAA or os ke sari makhlukaat ke tarraf say tammam per laanat ho.

9 11 2009
irfan

awam ko in tmam sysat dano ka ihtsab krna chay our ugly election per in sb ko refused krna chya ta ky in ko apni ukat ka pta chly

5 12 2009
azhar

dear viewers,as a nation we r not mature then other,v r repeating these bullshit politistion again nd again.thats y we r in bad position.i m sorry if someone heart due my opinion.

16 02 2010
GlawsRalo

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! 🙂

5 04 2010
Saleem Raza Bhatti

The events that take place day to day in our country are very dirty for God sake

take care of our nation to live with honor and dignity.

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