‘Inquiry report on Wheat, Sugar released not leaked’

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Recently, the PTI government released the much-awaited inquiry report into the sugar price hike and wheat shortage across Pakistan. The report, which supposedly ‘fulfilled’ a key promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan, kicked up a storm for the public and politicians alike.
However, it soon became a matter of debate on social media whether the government had issued the report voluntarily or whether its hand was forced after the report was ‘leaked’ to media.
The report in question had already sent shockwaves through the corridors of power as it named senior leaders of the ruling coalition, including a minister, as beneficiaries of cartelisation and subsidies granted to the sugar industry.
The inquiry report on the wheat shortage separately held the provincial and federal governments responsible for the commodity crisis.
The prime minister in March had constituted an inquiry committee under Director General Federal Investigation Agency Wajid Zia to probe the issue and identify the culprits. When the report was released on Saturday evening, social media was abuzz with rumours that the PTI government was forced to release it officially because it had already leaked to media and the authorities had no other option.
However, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior, Mirza Shahzad Akbar clarified today that the ‘leaked’ report was actually shared with media by his office and claimed that a summary to release the report was sent to him by the prime minister a day earlier. A look back on the events unfolded that day gives some insight into what seems to have happened.
At 07:42 pm on Saturday, Mirza Shahzad Akbar shared the said report and, minutes later, the link of the official press release on his Twitter handle.
Separately, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan also rebuffed claims that the government had released the report under pressure.