QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court on Friday declared provincial cabinet’s decision to purchase wheat at subsidised rates as illegal and said it did not meet standards of reasonableness and prudent financial management.

Announcing the judgement on the wheat purchase case, the BHC bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Hashim Kakar and Justice Shoukat Rakhshani, directed the chief secretary to allocate Rs500 million of wheat procurement for loan repayments and use other funds for establishing a technical centre, town planning and clean water supply projects.

The court asked the government to reduce unnecessary expenditures in view of the province’s weak financial position and shut down inefficient departments.

The BHC verdict criticised the food department for failing to achieve its objectives, noting its existence is nothing but a duplication of Passco.

The court also directed the government to form a high-level committee for recommendation on shutting down ineffective departments and directed copies of the BHC verdict be sent to the chief secretary and the principal secretary of the chief minister.

The court verdict expected the chief minister to address the matter.

Petitioners Imran Ullah and Muhammad Sadiq in their petition filed in the BHC had challenged the provincial cabinet’s decision on wheat procurement.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2024

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