Tareen tells SC he will buy cane growers’ produce

Sugar Mills case

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secretary general Jahangir Tareen, along with five other mill owners, on Wednesday told the Supreme Court (SC) that he is willing to buy harvested sugarcane from all farmers affected by the suspension of sugar mills operations.
The offer was made while a three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard a petition against a Lahore High Court (LHC) order to relocate three sugar mills that are believed to be owned by the Sharif family.
In the petition, filed last year, farmers and mill owners had urged the court to overturn the LHC’s decision arguing that the halting of crushing has affected cane growers since they are unable to sell their harvest.
On Wednesday, the SC had given Tareen — a defendant in the case — two options: either the cane be processed after a commission is paid to crushers, or that the entire produce that, according to the prosecution, is current rotting, is bought by Tareen.
In Thursday’s hearing, Tareen and five other mill owners assured the court that they will buy the entire produce on government rates. The CJP warned that the transactions will be monitored closely by the court.
The farmers raised some objections over the announcement, saying that the businessmen had not specified how they will buy the cane. Defence attorney Aitzaz Ahsan responded that the rate of the cane will be determined by the sugar cane commissioner.
Dismissing the objections raised by the farmers, Justice Nisar cautioned them against becoming someone else’s “mouthpiece”.
“We (the court) gave relief to the cane growers and stopped sugar mills from illegal operations as well,” the CJP announced. He further said that he will listen to cane growers’ arguments only when he is sure of their “sincerity”. The hearing was adjourned until April 18.

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