A man leaves after collecting free bags of flour from a government distribution point in Peshawar on March 29, 2023. — AFP

A man leaves after collecting free bags of flour from a government distribution point in Peshawar on March 29, 2023. — AFP
  • Punjab govt reacts to PML-N leader’s allegations.
  • Minister says govt believes in “transparency and impartiality”.
  • He adds no one can accuse Punjab interim setup of corruption.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s embezzlement allegations targeting the flour scheme in Punjab have upset the interim government, as it termed the former prime minister’s claims “false and fabricated”.

In this regard, Punjab’s Information Minister Amir Mir issued a statement, a day earlier, refuting Abbasi’s statement about the provincial government’s free flour distribution programme, saying they had provided relief to millions of beneficiaries under the scheme.

“There wasn’t even an ounce of corruption,” the minister said, highlighting that the claims damaged their own credibility.

Mir added that the scheme was Punjab’s most successful one ensuring the provision of free flour during the Holy month of Ramzan to approximately 30 million people. He added that the programme had been jointly funded by the federal and provincial administrations.

The minister lamented that the scheme was being targeted due to the PML-N’s internal differences and urged the party’s stalwart to either provide evidence to back his allegations or apologise.

“The caretaker Punjab government believes in transparency and impartiality and can give an account of every penny regarding the flour scheme. Therefore, no one can accuse it of corruption,” the provincial minister said.

A day earlier, the former premier claimed that Rs20 billion were embezzled from the federal government’s free flour distribution scheme.

Addressing a ceremony in Lahore, the ruling party’s leader said that the country’s system has become “so corrupt and outdated” that it cannot deliver.

He said corrupt government officials would be identified in the past “but today is the time when we have to look for honest officers.”

Abbasi asked what did poor get out of Rs84 billion subsidy allocated by the federal and provincial governments to provide free flour to the poor during the holy month of Ramazan.

“More than Rs20 billion were stolen in the government’s free flour scheme,” he alleged.

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