ISLAMABAD: A report forwarded to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday has held politicians and government officials responsible for the wheat crisis that has made life difficult for Pakistanis.
Sources said the report identified two issues which gave rise to the wheat crisis: administrative incompetence and political pressure on the food department. Names of the politicians and government officers responsible for the crisis have also been mentioned in the report.
The document stated that the price of a 40kg wheat sack, which was available for Rs1,550 in November 2019, was increased deliberately to Rs1,950 in the open market the next month. According to sources, the report also mentioned that two months ago, wheat was available in markets across Pakistan in abundance. But in December, the staple food started to disappear from the markets.
The report mentioned that the quota of Lahore flour mills was decreased from 50 sacks to 45. The same phenomenon was not experienced in Rawalpindi, where the quota was increased from 25 sacks to 30.
Food Department Secretary Waqas Ali Mehmood failed to increase the wheat quota of the flour mills, as per the report. Flour mill owners decided to increase the price of flour after the cost of a 40kg sack of wheat eventually went up to Rs2,100.
Geo News contacted the Punjab government spokesperson, who said he was unaware of any such report forwarded to PM Imran. The spokesperson said he could give his point of view only after the report is brought to his notice.
Last week, the prime minister took notice of the surge in wheat prices, instructing all four provincial chief secretaries to initiate a ‘grand operation’ against those involved in hoarding flour and selling it at exorbitant rates.
The Prime Minister’s Office ordered the provincial governments, chief commissioners, and deputy commissioners (DC) to take stern action against the culprits.
Special Advisor to PM on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, had said that the prime minister had taken steps to bring stability in wheat prices.
“By taking timely steps, flour prices will fall,” Awan said, adding that stern action will be taken against those selling wheat at self-prescribed rates.