LAHORE: Federal Minister Sheikh Rashid says that Prime Minister Imran Khan should take notice of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent statement about Saudi Arabia, as giving such statements should be avoided.
He further says the government is set to import wheat and sugar and provide these commodities to people on subsidised prices.
“I am minister. But PM Imran Khan should take notice that whether or not that he (the foreign minister) should have given this statement or not? But, according to my view, such a statement should be avoided,” he said while responding to a question raised by a journalist at a press conference here at the Pakistan Railways headquarters on Saturday.
When asked about the unbridled prices of wheat and sugar forcing the public to pay Rs75 and over Rs90 of per kg wheat (flour) and sugar, respectively, the minister said the government had decided to import both wheat and sugar and provide these to the people on subsidised prices.
10 more trains being restored
“PM Imran Khan knows about the prices of wheat and sugar and issue of sky rocketing prices well. And he is really concerned about this issue. That is why the government is set to import wheat and sugar. The government will also give subsidy to the people in this regard,” he maintained.
However, on the other hand, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad Chief Khalid Khokhar termed shortage of wheat and sugar and provision of the same on high prices despite sufficient production in the country a weakness of the government.
“Being a farmer I really feel ashamed to say that the wheat, which we produced and then sold at Rs1,400 (per maund), is being sold in our country at the rate of Rs2,400 per maund. And the reason behind this is that the commodity is being smuggled to other countries due to higher international rates,” Mr Khokhar told Dawn.
“I have heard that up to Rs50,000 bribe is being taken on smuggling of each wheat-laden truck,” he added. “Similarly, sugar is also being smuggled.”
When asked about the ongoing accountability, which couldn’t prove even a single penny corruption against Nawaz Sharif and others, the minister said: “If we have not succeeded in doing so (proving a single penny corruption) against them, they won’t be able to consume even a single penny if they have earned.”
He said the Main Line-I (ML-I) project would almost be funded by China under the CPEC.
“Ninety per cent of the funding of ML-I will be provided by China and the rest by the Pakistan government,” he added.
He claimed that the PTI’s ministers were honest. “But how NAB can call Imran Khan whom the Supreme Court has declared Sadiq and Ameen,” he said. He said the PR had decided not to fully restore the passenger trains operations.
“But at the moment, we plan to resume operations of 10 more trains,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020