IHC chides Govt over failure to control Sugar price

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday slammed the government after the Pakistan Sugar Mill Association (PMSA) refused to comply with the court’s orders of supplying sugar at the reduced rates of Rs70/kg.
During today’s hearing, Justice Minallah sought the implementation report from Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar and inquired whether sugar was being sold for Rs70/kg, as per the court’s orders last week.
“The correspondence between the government and PMSA is underway regarding the matter, but sugar is not available in the market at Rs70/kg,” Khokhar responded. To this, CJ Minallah said that the stay order issued had been conditional with sugar being provided to the masses at the reduced rates. “The interim stay was conditional on this matter. The hearing of the case can be held sooner,” he remarked.
“The court cannot fix the prices if the prices are not regulated by the authorities, it is the job of the executive to ensure court orders are followed,” CJ Minallah asserted. Is the restraining order over? asked Khokhar, to which, the CJ responded by saying that there was no use of the restraining order if it does not comply under the given conditions.
The court then approved the government’s request to become a party in the sugarcane farmer’s sugar mills case and fixed the hearing for June 19.
Last week, the IHC had barred the government from taking action on the sugar inquiry commission report, issuing directives for the product to be sold at the rate of Rs70/kg for the next 10 days.
The 10-day stay order was issued by Chief Justice Athar Minallah who was hearing a petition filed against the sugar inquiry commission report. The sugar mills’ owners had moved the court after the government said it would go after all those who were responsible for the hike in sugar prices. The sugar mills owners’ attorneys had alleged that a media trial was being carried out against them through the government’s special assistants and ministers.