PM Shehbaz constitutes inquiry committee to investigate wheat import scandal

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted an inquiry committee to investigate the import of wheat last year despite a “bumper crop.

While chairing a meeting on the matter of existing wheat stock and further procurement, PM Shehbaz appointed Secretary Cabinet Division Kamran Ali Afzal as head of the probe body.

The prime minister inquired about the wheat import in 2023 from the Ministry of National Food Security. “What led to import wheat despite an abundant production,” he asked.

As per the PM’s media wing, he said by God’s grace, Pakistan had had a bumper crop this season, therefore it should be ensured that its procurement from farmers was not delayed.

“All necessary measures should be taken for buying wheat and farmers should be compensated for their hard work soon,” he said.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Ahad Khan Cheema, Rana Tanvir Hussain, Muhammad Aurengzeb, Jam Kamal Khan, Coordinator to Prime Minister, Rana Ehsan Afzal and senior officials among others.

According to the statistics, a total of 3,449,436 metric tonness of wheat worth Rs282.975 billion was imported during the caretaker government’s tenure and Shehbaz-led government during the ongoing fiscal year till March.

The caretaker government allowed the import of 2,758,226 226 metric tonnes wheat worth Rs225.783 billion till February 2024.

During one month, March, of Shehbaz-led government, 691,136 metric tonnes of wheat of worth Rs57.192 billion was imported.

Meanwhile, Shehbaz has removed Federal Secretary National Food Security and Research Division Captain (R) Muhammad Asif from his post on the issue of wheat import during caretaker government.

Asif is a Grade 21 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service. He has been made OSD.

Dr. Muhammad Fakhr Alam Irfan, a Grade 22 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, has been appointed as the new federal secretary of National Food Security and Research Division.