Govt fails to check prices in Ra­mazan

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

BE­FORE the ad­vent of holy month of Ra­mazan, the gov­ern­ment func tionar­ies like in the past, this time too, made tall claims of tak­ing steps to­wards check­ing the prices of es­sen­tial com­modi­ties but all these proved to be mere hol­low state­ments - much to the dis­tress of the poor and mid­dle classes which are ac­tu­ally feel­ing the pinch of price hike.

Even be­fore the start of Ra­mazan, the prof­i­teers and hoard­ers had started loot­ing the pock­ets of help­less con­sumers by sky-rock­et­ing the prices of dif­fer­ent items, es­pe­cially pulses and fruits as well as chicken. Dur­ing this month when the con­sump­tion of many items, par­tic­u­larly fruits, go up man­i­fold, the prof­i­teers are leav­ing no op­por­tu­nity to gain the max­i­mum ben­e­fit. The fact is that price hike has put many sta­ple foods out of the reach of the poor peo­ple. The re­gret­table part is that by an­nounc­ing small Ra­mazan pack­ages and open­ing ‘Sasta bazaars’, the Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments give the im­pres­sion that they have ful­filled their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The Pro­vin­cial Min­is­ters are also seen pay­ing cus­tom­ary vis­its to these so called Sasta bazaars mere for photo shoot and per­sonal pub­lic­ity but noth­ing con­crete is done on the ground to en­sure ad­e­quate and qual­ity sup­ply of items there. This time around peo­ple are also com­plain­ing that the items be­ing sold at these spe­cial bazaars are not only of low qual­ity but there is no much dif­fer­ence in the prices of items when com­pared with the open mar­ket. The fact is that the price mech­a­nism sys­tem has to­tally failed due to the obliv­i­ous­ness of those en­trusted with the re­spon­si­bil­ity. A na­tional price mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tee of­ten meets un­der the chair­man­ship of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar but this has only been turned into a plat­form only for pre­sen­ta­tion of data and statis­tics by the of­fi­cials con­cerned. Noth­ing con­crete is be­ing done on its part to save the con­sumers from the cruel hands of car­tels and prof­i­teers. Siz­zling heat and fre­quent power out­ages have al­ready made the lives of com­mon man mis­er­able and the bomb of price hike is noth­ing but adding more salt to their wounds. We, there­fore, will urge the gov­ern­ment to take prac­ti­cal steps and es­tab­lish a ro­bust mech­a­nism to save the peo­ple from the evil clutches of prof­i­teers.

DE­SPITE Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s full back­ing of India’s bid for the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group, (NSG) the facts on the ground prin­ci­pally ad­vo­cate that un­de­serv­ing India’s de­sire for join­ing the NSG, can hardly be ful­filled pre­cisely be­cause India re­mains in­ca­pable of sat­is­fy­ing the ‘re­quired cri­te­ria’. Though the US has said it is not about an arms race, but about peaceful use of nu­clear en­ergy, there ap­pears much qual­i­fied skep­ti­cism, that an In­dian mem­ber­ship to the NSG, will un­fal­ter­ingly‘ es­ca­late nu­clear arms race’in South Asia. While con­sid­er­ing the In­dian case, the 48 mem­ber NSG body can’t ig­nore its ad­her­ence to the ‘Guide­lines’. The NSG Guide­lines aim to en­sure that nu­clear trade for peaceful pur­poses does not con­trib­ute to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of nu­clear weapons or other nu­clear ex­plo­sive de­vices. The merit of this ar­gu­ment up­holds that India’s ‘le­git­i­macy’ is wan­ing over this is­sue.

As for the NSG mem­ber­ship cri­te­ria, the most im­por­tant pre­req­ui­sites are : the abil­ity to sup­ply items (in­clud­ing items in transit) cov­ered by the an­nexes to Parts 1 and 2 of the NSG Guide­lines; ad­her­ence to the Guide­lines and ac­tion in ac­cor­dance with them; en­force­ment of a legally based do­mes­tic ex­port con­trol sys­tem which gives ef­fect to the com­mit­ment to act in ac­cor­dance with the Guide­lines; full com­pli­ance with the obli­ga­tions of one or more of the fol­low­ing: the Treaty on the Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion of Nu­clear Weapons (NPT), the Treaties of Pelind­aba, Raro­tonga, Tlatelolco, Bangkok, or an equiv­a­lent in­ter­na­tional nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion agree­ment; and sup­port of in­ter-

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