KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed sugar mills owners to purchase sugar cane from growers at the price of Rs172 per 40 kilograms till further orders.
Headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, a two-judge bench was hearing the matter pertaining to fixation and purchase of sugar cane price over a dispute between growers and mills owners.
The court further directed the government to convene a meeting within two days with all stakeholders and the cane commissioner and notify the sugar cane price within one week.
It ordered that the matter should be decided with the approval of the provincial cabinet and the chief minister after the consultative meeting, and the approved rates should be notified accordingly.
The matter was adjourned till Jan 25.
According to growers, the mill owners had refused to accept any price over Rs130 per 40 kg.
They said that the mill owners were not paying the rate of Rs182/40kg as fixed by the government through a notification.
Besides, they did not follow the due procedure in the previous crushing season, they submitted, adding that the price regulation case, covering the entire range of the issue, was pending before the apex court.
The mill owners have also challenged the notification fixing the price at Rs182/40kg, arguing that millers were not under any legal obligation to give effect to the same as the notified price was not viable and would result in losses to them.
With the consent of both the parties for interim relief, the SHC had on Dec 23 directed the sugar mills to buy the current crop at the rate of Rs172/40kg and deposit the differential amount at the rate of Rs10/40kg with the nazir of the court as security.
Baldia factory fire case
The SHC on Tuesday directed the provincial prosecutor general and investigating officer of the Baldia factory fire case to file their respective comments on the plea of Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui against the order of an antiterrorism court that made him part of the investigations into the factory fire case.
Headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, a two-judge bench was hearing a constitutional petition of the MQM-P leader against the ATC order.
The trail court had granted the prosecution’s request and made Mr Siddiqui, the then provincial minister of industries and trade, a part of the investigation and asked him to cooperate with the police.
The special public prosecutor had contended that the MQM-P leader was not included in the list of the accused persons despite the fact that there was sufficient evidence against him.
Mr Siddiqui submitted in his petition that he had been cleared in the case in the supplementary charge sheet submitted with the administrative judge of the ATCs, as nothing was found illegal against him.
He stated that that the administrative judge had accepted that charge sheet in which he was found innocent.
He asked the court to set aside the trial court decision and relieve him from the charges.
The bench issued notice to the prosecutor general and investigating officer directing them to file their respective replies by Feb 1.
Rauf Siddiqui’s name came into light after the statement of Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, the prime suspect arrested from Bangkok through the Interpol, who said that Mr Siddqui had got the case registered against the factory owners.
At least 259 people were killed in the fire at Ali Enterprises garments factory in Baldia Town on Sept 11, 2012. It was one of the worst industrial inferno incidents in Pakistan’s history.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2018