The PTI government on Saturday released the much-awaited inquiry report into the sugar price hike and wheat shortage in the country earlier this year, ‘fulfilling’ a key promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
However, it soon became a matter of debate on social media whether the government had issued the report voluntarily or whether its hand was forced after the report was ‘leaked’ to media.
The report in question had already sent shockwaves through the corridors of power as it named senior leaders of the ruling coalition, including a minister, as beneficiaries of cartelisation and subsidies granted to the sugar industry.
The inquiry report on the wheat shortage separately held the provincial and federal governments responsible for the commodity crisis.
The prime minister in March had constituted an inquiry committee under Director General Federal Investigation Agency Wajid Zia to probe the issue and identify the culprits.
When the report was released on Saturday evening, social media was abuzz with rumours that the PTI government was forced to release it officially because it had already leaked to media and the authorities had no other option.
However, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior, Mirza Shahzad Akbar clarified today that the ‘leaked’ report was actually shared with media by his office and claimed that a summary to release the report was sent to him by the prime minister a day earlier.
A look back on the events unfolded that day gives some insight into what seems to have happened.
At 07:42 pm on Saturday, Mirza Shahzad Akbar shared the said report and, minutes later, the link of the official press release on his Twitter handle.
In pursuit of PTI ‘s manifesto of accountability for all in Naya Pakistan, PM @ImranKhanPTI decided to make Public the Reports of Committees on Wheat and Sugar respectively which are available on https://t.co/RdkuEg6kGO @PTIofficial
— Mirza Shahzad Akbar (@ShazadAkbar) April 4, 2020
Prior to this announcement, at 07:27pm, another PTI leader, Dr Shahbaz Gill, tweeted that the government had fulfilled its promise of making the inquiry report public, and the statement was highlighted on a programme in a private news channel.
انکوائری کمیٹی کی سفارش پر ایک انکوائری کمیشن بنا دیا ہے جو فرانزک آڈٹ کر رہا ہے۔ 25 اپریل تک یہ آڈٹ مکمل کر کے حکومت کو جمع کروائے گا۔ وزیراعظم عمران خان نے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ اس کو بھی پبلک کیا جائے گا۔ کرونا کی آڑ میں اس رپورٹ کو دبایا جا سکتا تھالیکن یہ عمران خان کی حکومت ہے
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) April 4, 2020
eparately, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan also rebuffed claims that the government had released the report under pressure.
Dismissing the perception, Awan said PM Imran had made the commitment that he would not spare those involved in the matter and he should be given credit for this.
In all meetings on the matter, she said, the prime minister had reiterated his pledge and now when he has done this questions should not be raised.