Fearing price hike, minister opposes demand for sugar export.

ISLAMABAD -- Federal Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema on Thursday categorically declared on the floor of the National Assembly that he would not allow the export of sugar without proper verification, stating that he was ready to surrender his responsibilities as head of the Sugar Advisory Board if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif could not sustain the pressure from sugar mill owners.

The minister, who took the floor to respond to the criticism of the government made by a number of lawmakers in their speeches through points of order, said the permission to export sugar could only be granted if the concerned deputy commissioners would personally inspect each and every sack of the commodity and verify the surplus stock available in the mills operating in their respective areas. Besides this, he said, the chief secretaries of respective provinces would also have to provide written verification in this regard.

Mr Cheema, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), said that he was working as the chairman of the Sugar Advisory Board despite the fact that the issue did not fall in his domain and was doing so at the request of the prime minister after the concerned minister refused to head the body due to a conflict of interest.

The minister, in an emotional speech, said that he had already informed the prime minister that if there was any pressure on him on...

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