LAHORE: Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhary has voluntarily resigned from his portfolio due to the wheat and sugar crisis controversy whereas his resignation may create problems for the upcoming wheat procurement season.
Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar, while accepting Samiullah’s resignation here on Monday, appointed an officer on special duty (OSD) in his place.
In his resignation letter, the minister stated that he was being accused of not bringing reforms in the food department since the past few days and had decided that resigning was the right thing to do, adding that he could sacrifice thousands of ministries for the completion of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s vision for the country.
He also mentioned that he would not find himself eligible for the ministry until he does not prove his honesty and innocence in the allegations imposed on him by presenting himself for any kind of accountability inquiry.
A member provincial assembly (MPA) of PTI, on the condition of anonymity, informed this scribe that the food minister’s resignation in the current situation was a serious matter as the whole country was facing a crisis.
He said that there was an artificial shortage of wheat which led to a price hike while most stores, including Utility Stores, were also out of stock in wheat flour and sugar.
“Chaudhary is a close companion of Buzdar but the chief minister was suspicious of him for not taking action to overcome the crisis whereas, the food minister allegedly mislead the government through misreporting,” the source said.
The Punjab government is now likely to face new challenges due to the food minister’s resignation as the procurement of wheat is scheduled in the coming days and the government needs a person who is thoroughly experienced with matters related to procurement and stocking as well as the provincial food supply chain system.
It is also important to mention here that the prime minister had constituted two high profiled committees under Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) director general and a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate the causes behind the particular crisis in Punjab.
After the formation of the said committees, the prime minister had repetitively vowed to uncover and reprimand those who were responsible or involved in creating the issue, saying this would deter similar situations in the future.
After the finalisation of inquiry reports, both investigation committees furnished separate main and additional reports to further address queries raised by the Prime Minister House by sending the concerned parties questionnaires for more clarification.
Meanwhile, Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chauhan while commenting on the provincial food minister’s resignation said that Samiullah’s resignation was a positive sign for all. ”
“His move was noticeable and respectable keeping in view the present difficult times and circumstances,” he added.