In his first media encounter after resigning as Punjab food minister, Samiullah Chaudhry has claimed that Asad Umar, as then federal finance minister, had asked for exporting wheat despite his opposition, Dawn reported.
Threatening to expose the forces involved in the wheat flour report conspiracy, he said the inquiry committee never wished to summon him for investigation.
“Asad Umar as federal finance minister had chaired a high-level meeting in Islamabad early last year and asked for exporting some of the wheat stocks, 7.2 million tonnes in Punjab at that time. I opposed the move because the government would have to offer subsidy for the export [for the grain being costlier than the world prices],” he said while speaking to a private media outlet.
“I said the country could not afford to give the subsidy and suggested rather selling out the same stocks in the local market [for the benefit of the local population],” he said, adding that flour mills in Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) still enjoyed subsidised wheat at the cost of Punjab’s exchequer.
The former minister maintained that he had also asked the inquiry committee to also include this fact in its report.
In his reaction to the allegation, now Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said it was not his personal but a collective decision taken on the condition that prices won’t be allowed to be increased in the local market. He said the decision was first taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and then endorsed by the federal cabinet.