The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday declared the constitution of the sugar inquiry commission – formed to probe the recent crisis of the commodity in the country – and its report illegal. The court directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct separate and independent investigations into the crisis. The written verdict was issued by a division bench headed by Justice KK Agha while hearing a set of petitions filed by sugar mills in Sindh.On June 23, Mirpurkhas Sugar Mills and around 19 other mills in the province had moved the SHC against the report of the inquiry commission and pleaded to quash the report. The petitioners had contended that the commission was not constituted in accordance with the relevant law and included members who had already made up their minds against the sugar mills, as they were also members of an earlier inquiry committee constituted for the same purpose. In the written order issued, the SHC listed eight reasons for quashing the report, including the “failure to follow mandatory rules of business” and “the failure to gazette the notification of the commission within due time”. The court stated that the commission’s constitution was “incomplete”, “biased” and denied the petitioners the opportunity to be heard.The SHC also noted the “prejudice caused to the petitioners by the report, the action plan and letters which were sent by the adviser on accountability and interior to various statutory bodies and violation and interference in the relevant schemes of law and the Constitution by the executive”. “We hereby declare the impugned notification of March 16, 2020 and the impugned report of May 21, 2020 and all subsequent and consequent orders of the respondents […] to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect, with regard to the petitioners, and quash the impugned report and all such actions and orders.”The SHC also stopped the federal government and all other government departments from directly or indirectly taking any action based on the findings of the report. The court directed the NAB chairman to open an independent inquiry under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) to determine if any acts of corruption had been committed by any of the petitioners, without the reference of the report.Further, it asked the FBR chairman to open an independent inquiry in accordance with the relevant tax laws to determine whether any “illegality” had been committed by any of the petitioners, without the reference of the report.Similarly, the high court asked the director of the FIA to also conduct an independent inquiry under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 to determine if money laundering had been committed by any of the petitioners, without the reference of the report.It also directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to “fulfil their respective mandates in accordance with the law, with respect to the petitioners and the sugar industry”.The court also directed that copies of the order be forwarded to the NAB chairman, the FBR chairman, the FIA director general, the CCP chairman, the SECP chairman, the SBP governor and the Sindh chief secretary.Meanwhile, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said that the government will approach the Supreme Court against the high court’s judgement. On July 28, the federal government had ordered the relevant departments to launch formal investigations in light of the report and where necessary take “penal, corrective and mitigating measures” against the “sugar cartel” implicated in the commission’s report.