Pakistan PM reshuffles Cabinet after damning report on sugar and wheat crisis

PTI Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan Apr 06, 2020, 10.24 PM(IST)

File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Khan's move comes just days after a report by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) directly or indirectly blamed some ministers and officials in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the sugar and wheat crisis.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reshuffled his Cabinet and sacked some key advisors for their alleged role in a recent sugar and wheat crisis the country.

Also read: Pakistan opens two border crossings with Afghanistan for four days

Khan's move comes just days after a report by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) directly or indirectly blamed some ministers and officials in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the sugar and wheat crisis.

Also read: Pakistan: Police baton-charged doctors who were demanding protective gear to fight coronavirus

The FIA in its 32-page report last week termed the government's decision to allow export of sugar unjustified as it pushed up price of sugar by 30 per cent at the beginning of the year.

The key casualty of Monday's move was Jehangir Khan Tareen, the chairman of Task Force on Agriculture. He was considered very close to Khan and had played a key role in cobbling up the current coalition government.

Considered as the leading sugar tycoon, he was accused of pocketing tens of millions of rupees in direct government subsidies as well through artificial price hike.

Prime minister's Office in a statement said that Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar will be replaced by Syed Fakhar Imam as the federal minister for national food security.

Bakhtiar was given the charge for the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Bakhtiar was not direct beneficiary but his brother owned sugar mills which benefitted from the crisis.

Khan also appointed Babar Awan as his political advisor and Azam Swati as minister for narcotics control, Syed Fakhar Imam as minister for food security and Hammad Azhar as minister for industries.

Abdul Razzak Dawood, advisor on Industries and chairman of Sugar Advisory Board, was also removed.

The prime minister also accepted the resignation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's Khalid Maqbool Siddique as the federal minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication and appointed MQM-P's Amin ul Haq in his place.

Khan also sacked Mohammad Shahzad Arbab as his adviser on civil service affairs. He also removed Hashim Popalzai as secretary ministry of food security and appointed Omar Hameed in his place.

The action was taken after Khan promised not to spare those found guilty of creating and profiteering off the sugar and wheat crisis.

However, further action may be taken after the compilation of a detailed report.

Separately, the government removed Shabbar Zaidi as the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and appointed Nausheen Javaid Amjad in his place.