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IHC Lifts Stay Order, Allows Govt To Take Act Against Sugar Barons

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed the petition filed by leading sugar mill owners challenging the inquiry report of the sugar JIT put in place to investigate the sugar crisis. Earlier, the court had barred the government from taking any action against those who were held responsible for the sugar crisis in the country.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on June 11, granted a stay order against the input of the inquiry commission on the sugar scandal that is struggling to hold accountable the corruption that is done by sugar mill giants.

The filers of the petition included the family members of PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif and federal minister Khurso Bakhtiar, which institutes the entire sugar industry of Pakistan.

They argued that the investigation report “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 provinces”.

The IHC elaborated that the constitution of the sugar commission and its report does not infringe upon the basic rights of the petitioners. “The report was, therefore, lawfully considered by the federal cabinet,” it said.

The petition also said that cabinet from the federal government cannot delegate functions and powers as per the constitution.

In accordance with this law, the federal cabinet’s decision to delegate power to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar was not permissible by the Supreme Court.

The court also highlighted that the powers were vested with the federal government in case it wanted to send a reference to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

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Naya Daur