“Sugar industry is one of Pakistan’s most influential industrial sectors”

Islamabad: Dr Muhammad Hanif Mughal, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Shadbad, highlighted on Sunday the significant influence of the sugar industry in Pakistan, pointing to the ongoing exploitation of farmers and the public by what he termed the “sugar mills mafia.” He claimed this unchecked power also prevents the country from achieving self-sufficiency in wheat production, reported local media.

Addressing party workers, Dr Mughal criticized mafia-owned factories for exploiting the public and evading billions in taxes while consistently reporting financial losses. He noted that despite these reported losses, the mills did not shut down but instead sought to establish more factories.

He pointed out that while there is a surplus sugar production, many new sugar mills have been set up, for which huge expenditure by the government is incurred to keep them functional. Dr Mughal alleged that the sugar mills deliberately delayed the payments to farmers, due to which they were compelled to sell their produce to agents at low rates. He further said that delay in purchasing sugarcane reduces its weight, apart from involving a lot of financial loss to the farmers. He claimed that the sugar mafia benefits hugely from these illegal and unethical practices.

Dr.Mughal pointed out, “Sugar mill mafia takes it as their birthright to fleece farmers at the time of weighing the sugarcane and there is absolutely no accountability.” He noted that whenever the production of sugarcane comes down, the market prices go up, and the mafia imports sugar in haste, bringing down sugarcane costs. In case of a good harvest, they export the sugar to earn foreign currency coupled with huge subsidies.

He further elaborated that late payments to farmers hamper their preparation for the next wheat crop, ultimately hitting production and food security. He recalled how once a federal finance minister was shown the door after he refused to bow down to granting subsidies to the sugar mills, which the millers later got from provincial governments.

He noted that investigations against the sugar mafia are often initiated following public protests but rarely lead to penalties. He added that such proceedings are usually halted due to interference from unseen forces.

He concluded by asserting that as long as this mafia is allowed to exploit farmers and the public and evade taxes, both the agriculture sector and the general populace will continue to suffer.



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