LAHORE: Lamenting that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif discriminated against Punjab by not supplying it wheat that was given to other provinces, Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has announced that the apex court will be moved over the issue.

Speaking to the media persons here on Friday, he said the premier neither allowed Punjab government, nor private sector, to import wheat when permission was sought from the federal government in this regard.

Saying the federal government provided wheat to other provinces, but denied it to Punjab, he announced, “We will take this issue to the Supreme Court.”

The chief minister chided the prime minister for “misquoting” him and creating an impression as if he (Parvez) had asked the private sector should be allowed to import wheat. “Shehbaz Sharif you first read my statement and then respond,” he said and advised him to think before speaking. He also accused the premier of frequently telling lies.

“The federal government is obstructing the supply of wheat and flour to the common man [in Punjab] and it did not help the flood victims either,” he alleged and reiterated his demand that Punjab be allowed to import wheat.

The chief minister had written a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, urging him to intervene for the approval of 1.0 million metric tonnes (MMT) wheat for Punjab as “the province’s 2.85MMT wheat stocks may deplete by the end of February next”.

About the Ehsaas programme, he said Imran Khan’s flagship initiative was the best public welfare agenda to provide subsidised commodities to eight million families. In fact, he said, Punjab Ehsaas Ration Programme was the best example of a targeted subsidy and added that the government had given billions of rupees for this programme.

He said under the programme, funds were being deposited in the bank accounts of deserving families. He said 10 per cent commission was being given to the retail shops registered under the Ehsaas programme that, he claimed, had created new employment opportunities and the poor were getting subsidised items.

Mr Elahi said the number of PMLQ-PTI MPAs had increased as the newly-elected members would take oath on Monday.

He said the incumbent Punjab government had carved out five new districts and this decision had been taken after consultations. The creation of new districts was creating thousands of employment opportunities, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2022

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