LAHORE/KARACHI: Autho­ri­ties in Punjab on Wednesday confiscated 4,500 flour bags of 10kg each loaded on a truck en route to Karachi in Tehsil Sadiqabad on Punjab-Sindh border and arrested the truck driver under charges of hoarding.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah deplored that the flour purchased for flood victims had been confiscated by the Punjab government due to their ‘politics of hatred’.

According to an FIR available with Dawn, the officials of the Punjab revenue department after receiving information stopped a truck with registration number TML-710 carrying 4,500 bags of 10kg each at the Kot Sabzal checkpoint, which was going to Karachi.

The officials confiscated the flour and registered a case under hoarding charges.

The officials handed over the flour to the Punjab food department to sell it and submit the money to the national exchequer.

A Naib Tehsildar, Jam Abdul Sattar, told Dawn that the truck was confiscated for not having any receipt of the purchase and any order of the Sindh government.

He said the driver could not present any evidence that the flour was being carried for flood-affected people.

He said that they were deputed to the checkpoint to stop hoarding and illegal transportations of goods to other provinces and they had registered the case against the driver and confiscated the flour.

He said that any non-governmental organisation or other person seeking to carry items for the flood affected people should also bring an order of authorities to cross the border checkpoint otherwise they would not be allowed to cross the border.

He said that NGOs should also paste/ install a banner on their vehicle and also get an order from the deputy commissioner of the respective district to cross the checkpoint.

He said the government had issued strict orders to stop hoarding and illegal transportation of goods from one province to another.

Later, at a press conference, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led Punjab government had not only stopped at the border the flour the Sindh government had purchased, but also registered an FIR.

“This is quite deplorable and painful that the demand to meet the requirement of flood-affected people has been ignored just to advance their politics of hatred,” he said and described the attitude of the Punjab government as ‘inhuman’ and condemned the incident.

The Sindh information minister also reacted to the confiscation of truck of Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Punjab and termed it a shameful act by the PTI’s Punjab government.

Speaking to Dawn, he said that the PDMA had purchased flour from Punjab for flood affected people of Sindh and but the PTI was crossing all the limits.

“Previously, they launched a fake campaign on social media to persuade international donor agencies and the United Nations to stop humanitarian aid to flood hit people. Now, they are using their government’s power in Punjab to stop relief items,” he lamented.

The food department in Bahawalpur on Wednesday also claimed to have foiled a bid to smuggle more than 14,000 bags of flour to Sindh and Afghanistan.

The transportation of flour was in violation of the Punjab government ban imposed sometime back and the vehicle drivers were arrested and flour trucks were impounded by police and food department raiding teams.

The department claimed that this was the second raid conducted to foil the smuggling of wheat and flour to other provinces and Afghanistan.

Earlier, 27,000 bags of wheat were seized and seven trucks were impounded and their drivers were arrested in Ahmedpur. The seven trucks and their drivers are in police custody till the decision of the court.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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