PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has taken notice of increasing prices of flour and other food items and summoned relevant officials of both federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

A two-member bench consisting of PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar wondered why the federal and provincial governments were not fulfilling their responsibilities towards general public.

The bench while hearing routine cases addressed the law officers of federal and provincial governments present in the courtroom, asking them what the relevant officers were doing regarding the ongoing wave of price hike.

The bench directed the law officers to convey to all the relevant officers to appear before the bench on Wednesday and explain their respective positions.

Summons relevant officials today to explain their position

The bench wondered whether there was any food minister in the province who could look into the matter and dress the ongoing crises.

The PHC chief justice remarked that on the one hand the poor people were complaining of non-availability of natural gas and on the other they were facing increasing prices of wheat flour, edible oil and ghee. The bench observed that it appeared as if the relevant departments were non-functional.

PETITION: A man on Tuesday filed a petition in the hi gh court, seeking directives for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary to control process of wheat and flour in the province and also stop supply of substandard flour to the local market.

Advocate Danyal Khan Chamkani filed a pro bono petition on behalf of Haseebullah, a resident of Urmer area in Peshawar, claiming that a 20-kilogram bag of flour was available at Rs3,300 that was out of the reach of general public.

The petitioner also sought interim relief from the court, requesting it to restrain the government from exporting and transporting wheat flour to Afghanistan till final disposal of the petition.

He also requested the court to order handing over of the wheat storage godowns of the provincial government to the district administrations so that they could provide wheat and flour to people at controlled rate.

The respondents in the petition are: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, provincial secretary and director of food department and the city mayor of Peshawar metropolitan.

The petitioner stated that the annual requirement of wheat for the province was 4.8 million tonnes, whereas according to the government statistics it only produced 1.2 million tonnes.

He claimed that since October last year, the Punjab government had placed ban on transportation of wheat flour to KP, resulting in continuous increase of price of the commodity in the open market.

He said that flour had been transported to KP from Punjab through two points, one from Attack Bridge and another one through Darya Khan Bridge, but the Punjab government now checked transportation of the commodity through those routes.

The petitioner contended that the ministry of national food security and research claimed that there was no shortage of wheat and the provinces had sufficient stocks but they were not releasing the same to millers.

He contended that after the passage of the 18th Amendment, it was the responsibility of provinces to procure wheat from farmers at minimum support price.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2023

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