AS has become increasingly evident, Ramazan is seen by some unscrupulous elements as an opportunity for profiteering. Across the country, in anticipation of and during the period of fasting, prices of daily essentials are jacked up in order to gain advantage over what is undoubtedly a hostage clientele-base. Whether it is fruit, vegetables, meat or other staple commodities, unjustifiable price hikes seem to peak around the time of Eid after which prices slide back to ‘normal’ levels. It is welcome, then, that in anticipation of the holy month, on Tuesday in Karachi a meeting was held at the commissioner’s office to formulate a strategy to contain profiteering during Ramazan. At the meeting, presided over by Commissioner Ejaz Khan and attended by all deputy commissioners, it was decided that ‘stern action’ would be taken against all those involved in making unfair profits, with Mr Khan directing the deputy commissioners to ‘stay vigilant’ in their respective areas and ‘conduct raids’ regularly.
It is possible to rue the fact that matters in Pakistan have reached such a low that strategies must be formulated to combat unfair practices. Be that as it may, the fact is that this is a real, and pressing, problem — one that stalks the average citizen on a daily basis, at the very least during a given period of time, if not more. Plans are all very well, but their success is dependent entirely on how far, and how strictly, they are implemented. The reality is that for a citizenry already badly hit by spiralling commodity prices, inflation, and the inaccessibility of goods, the upcoming rise in food-related expenditures can only be seen as rubbing salt into the wound of general injustice. The Karachi city government might have recognised this as a pressing issue, but it is hoped that it effectively employs the strategy it has come up with, and that other cities, too, can curb profiteering during Ramazan.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018