Balochistan sends SOS as it runs out of wheat

Published January 9, 2023
QUETTA: The assistant commissioner raids a godown as part of action against wheat and flour hoarders. —Dawn
QUETTA: The assistant commissioner raids a godown as part of action against wheat and flour hoarders. —Dawn

QUETTA: Despite an SOS sent by the Balochistan government a day earlier, no consignment of wheat reached the province on Sunday.

At a press conference on Saturday night, Food Minister Zamarak Khan Piralizai had said that the food department had run out of its wheat stock and called for help from other provinces and the Centre.

“We are facing a very serious crisis and need 600,000 bags of wheat on an emergency basis,” he said as he sent an SOS to the federal and provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh.

The minister, who was addressing the media after his return from Islamabad, was accompanied by Flour Mills Association president Badaruddin Kakar.

 Balochistan Food Minister Zamarak Khan Piralizai addresses a press conference on Saturday. — screengrab
Balochistan Food Minister Zamarak Khan Piralizai addresses a press conference on Saturday. — screengrab

He said Balochistan needed immediate wheat supply to deal with the worsening situation.

The federal, Sindh and Punjab governments are responsible for this crisis, the minister said, adding that despite the promise to provide 600,000 bags of wheat by Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi, not a single bag was sent to the province.

“Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh have refused to provide wheat to Balochistan,” he claimed.

Minister assails ban on inter-provincial movement of staple; Call for urgent help remains unheeded

When the private sector tried to purchase wheat from other provinces, security forces did not allow the consignment to enter Balochistan from Punjab and Sindh due to the ban on inter-provincial transportation of wheat.

He said Balochistan’s annual wheat consumption is 10.52 million bags, and it needed 1.2m bags every month.

“Only Quetta city requires 250,000 bags of wheat every month,” Mr Piralizai said.

He appealed to the prime minister and chief ministers of Punjab and Sindh to not leave the people of Balochistan alone in this hour of distress and immediately supply wheat to feed the people.

Mr Piralizai said the Balochistan government has no money to provide subsidies on flour and urged the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) to supply 200,000 bags of wheat at reduced rates.

He said teams have been formed to conduct raids against wheat and flour hoarders across the province and vowed that the government will not allow anyone to exploit the situation.

“The federal government has given 400,000 flour bags to utility stores but no share was given to Balochistan,” Mr Piralizai regretted.

He said Passco had promised to provide 400,000 wheat bags which included 200,000 bags of local wheat and 200,000 bags of imported wheat. However, he said the province needed local wheat as it doesn’t have the money to pay the cost of imported wheat which was many times more than the price of local wheat.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2023

Opinion

The risk of escalation

The risk of escalation

The silence of the US and some other Western countries over the raid on the Iranian consulate has only provided impunity to the Zionist state.

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...