The Lahore High Court on Friday, while hearing a petition against the increase in sugar price, directed the petitioner to come up with his arguments on a point whether the court could interfere in government”s economic policy, on October 21. A bar member Ahmad Imran Ghazi through his counsel Azhar Siddique submitted before the court that Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had approved import of 0.5 million tons of sugar.
He said earlier in 2009 artificial shortage of sugar was created in the country and its price had gone up to Rs 50 per kg. He said the price of sugar had already increased by Rs 2 per kg. The court remarked that how could it interfere into government”s economic policy. Earlier the counsel had submitted that the TCP in its reply to his constitutional petition had already submitted that it was a business arm of federal government under Ministry of Commerce and acted only on direction of Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet or the government for procuring any stocks to be deliver to Utility Stores Corporation, CSDs, etc, at a subsidised price.
He submitted that it was also admitted before the court that TCP in past had purchased sugar from mills and had imported from international sources for supply to USC and others and now 100,000 tons of sugar was available with them. He alleged that this practice was being done to benefit political personalities, owners of sugar mills. Applicant submitted that by purchasing about 100,000 tons of sugar, the national exchequer would face a loss of Rs 2.5 billion and the public at large would be forced to purchase sugar at an exaggerated price. He requested to restrain the TCP from floating sugar tenders at Rs 63-65 per kg on decision of ECC, till decision on this petition.