Resolve flour crisis


AMID an unprecedented price hike, another crisis in the form of wheat flour shortage has hit people across the country while government and other stakeholders are passing on the buck to one another instead of taking responsibility and finding a solution.
The nanbhais of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have announced to go on a strike from today (Monday) against the government, as various of their associations in Punjab have given a five-day ultimatum to government to provide them flour at previous rate or allow them to raise prices of naan and roti. Instead of taking steps to save the people from this crisis, those at the helm of affairs on Saturday politicised the issue with federal and provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa blaming Sindh for wheat shortage. However, PPP-led Sindh government held the Centre responsible for wheat crisis and subsequent increase in flour prices. According to National Food Security (NFS) Secretary Hashim Popalzai recent strike by transporters was main reason behind short supply of flour, as mills did not get wheat on time. We were made to believe that country has sufficient stocks of wheat yet it was surprising to hear from PTI leader Jahangir Tareen that wheat will be imported duty free. This clearly indicates that government did not procure adequate wheat from farmers last year and also the staple may have been smuggled to Afghanistan.
Whatever the reason, federal government must take immediate steps to make sure that flour prices come down and ample supply is ensured in every nook and corner of the country. A sustained and strict campaign should be launched against hoarders and those selling the flour at exorbitant rates. We will suggest that a detailed inquiry should be conducted into whole crisis in order to avert such kind of situation in future. Undoubtedly, the crisis has further hurt the popularity of PTI government and provided opportunity to the opposition to advance their narrative. The government should put its house in order, come out of internal wrangling and while rising above lip service provide relief to the masses in a genuine manner so that a positive change is visible in day-to-day life of the people.