Food hoarding

February 22, 2020


THE government’s resolve to deal sternly with hoarders and black marketers of sugar and other essential commodities reminds me of the Quaid-i-Azam’s Aug 11 address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan as its President. On the occasion the Quaid said and I quote:

“Black-marketing is another curse. Well, I know that black-marketers are frequently caught and punished. Judicial sentences are passed or sometimes fines only are imposed. Now you have to tackle this monster which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life.

A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. These black-marketers are really knowing, intelligent and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because they undermine the entire system of control and regulation of foodstuffs and essential commodities, and cause wholesale starvation and want and even death.”

In the light of the above and to provide relief to all, the government should ensure that the hoarders of essential food commodities — all of whom happen to be well-connected people are handed down severe punishment for their misdeeds.

Col (retd) Riaz Jafri



APROPOS the article ‘I for an I’ (Feb 8). The writer seems to have become ensnared in the same trap of self-justification in which the government has fallen. That is, there is great performance but the only problem is how to communicate it.

No amount of communication and media strategy, however clever, can be an embodiment for the torture that every Pakistani particularly the poor suffer daily when they go to buy food.

In an era of 20 per cent food inflation, falling exports, shrinking manufacturing, decreasing agriculture and mass unemployment, the conclusion is clear: there is no performance. There is only an abyss of incompetence, sloth and stupor in which a mafia rules. God help this country!

Syed Haider Ali


Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2020