LAHORE - The Lahore High Court issued notices to federal government, State Bank of Pakistan, Inland Board of Revenue and others and sought reply on an application filed against increase in sugar price here on Friday.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan of the LHC was hearing the case filed by a lawyer-petitioner Ahmad Imran Ghazi challenging increase in sugar price in his already pending petition against black-marketing, profiteering and hoarding of sugar.

The petitioner counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique said that earlier in 2009 artificial shortage of sugar was created in the country and price had gone up high. He submitted that the sugar mafia would take advantage of the situation and export the imported sugar and it would create acute shortage of sugar during crushing season.

Applicant counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique requested that record for last five years about production, consumption, import and export should be summoned from the federal government, State Bank of Pakistan, Inland Board of Revenue and Competition Commission.

The counsel had submitted that the Trade Commission of Pakistan (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 Coordination Committee (ECC) of cabinet or the government for procuring any stocks to be delivered to Utility Stores Corporation, CSDs, etc., at a subsidise price.

He submitted that it was also admitted before the court that TCP in past had purchased sugar from sugar mills and had been imported from international sources for supply to USC and others and now 100,000 MT sugar was available with them, the lawyer said.

He stated the representatives of sugar mills association, economic journalists and others had a detail discussion about purchase of sugar at Rs63-65 per kg by TCP from open market, when the price of the sugar in these days was Rs53 per kg.

He alleged that this practice was being done to benefit political personalities, owners of sugar mills. Applicant submitted that by purchasing about 1,00,000 MT sugar, the national exchequer would face a loss of Rs2.5 billion and the public at large would be forced to purchase sugar at exaggerated price.

He pleaded that the TCP be restrained from floating sugar tenders at Rs63-65 per kg on decision of ECC, till decision of the petition, in the interest of justice, fair play and to save fundamental rights of the applicant and as well as public at large.