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Saturday, June 15, 2024  
08 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Probe committee denies reports of summoning Kakar, Naqvi over wheat crisis

Kakar says he owns his decision of procuring wheat
A combination of file photos shows former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and incumbent Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi. Screengrabs via PTV News/Radio Pakistan
A combination of file photos shows former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and incumbent Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi. Screengrabs via PTV News/Radio Pakistan

The federal government’s probe committee has denied reports of summoning former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and former interim Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi over the wheat crisis.

“Neither Anwaarul Haq Kakar nor Mohsin Naqvi have been summoned,” Cabinet Secretary Kamran Ali Murtaza said in a statement as he clarified that there was no truth to reports of their summon by an inquiry committee.

Murtaza, who heads the committee, said that he was working under his domain and claimed that wrong news was being run related to him.

Earlier, sources said that a cabinet committee to ascertain the reasons for the import of the commodity during the last caretaker government has decided to summon former interim prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.

They added that the interim setup ministers, secretaries, and other “important” personalities would also be summoned.

The committed was considering handing over the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency and the National Accountability Bureau after the investigation.

Farmers in different parts of Punjab have been protesting against the government’s “flawed” wheat procurement policy and delays in the commencement of the grain’s official purchases

Punjab contributes more than 75% of the total wheat harvest, according to media reports and this year the market crashed and growers are forced to sell the staple food crop much below the support price set by the government.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the president of PML-N, held a party meeting related to the wheat situation and its purchase in Lahore.

They mulled the steps to provide relief to the farmers and resolve their issues. The premier would present the wheat crisis report to party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

In an interview with Talk Shock, Kakar said wondered whether it was a shortage of wheat. The journalist replied in the negative.

When he explained the context of the question, the former interim PM asked about the $1 billion worth of wheat and where it went.

He said that the issue was highlighted after the farmers took to the streets. According to Kakar, a promise with the farmers was not being honoured as the government was not buying wheat.

“When you dissect it, the wheat would have been imported under a law. Firstly, it happens because of a shortfall in the production,” he said and added either the government procures it or the government facilitates the private sector to do it.

He added that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan usually procures items. “TCP has its own story. It is under debt and is malfunctioning. It is becoming Pakistan’s new white elephant.”

According to Kakar, such accusations are raised when such procurement lands in the public sector. He suggested that such a process should be lent to the private sector that would work on the supply and demand work.

Under the import bill, the private sector has been importing in this country for the past four years.

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When asked whether the data related to wheat demand was inaccurate, he asked whether such items had been smuggled to Afghanistan in the last five decades or not. He said that there was a mechanism under which such developments occurred.

“You live in a practical world and such commodities are increasing in the region. You do import and as well export. In this whole context, you have to make decisions. Sometimes they are right and sometimes not. It should not be ill-intended. In this particular case, I own that our decision was not because the gap exited there and we did not spend $1 of the public exchequer,” he said.

He suggested that a judicial commission should be formed if there was any foul play. “I am the first one to volunteer to defend my honour, dignity, my name and my cabinet,” he said.

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Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister

anwaarul haq kakar

wheat procurement