(April 29, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that slated profiteering across the country before the advent of the holy month of Ramazan which has added to the miseries of the masses. He said that claim of zero load shedding by top officials was a political statement as the situation in the ground is different and masses across the country continue to suffer due to frequent outages.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that 39 percent of the population is already living under the poverty line, rupees has lost its value by 23 percent, inflation which was 5.8 percent in August 2018 has jumped to 9.4 percent in March 2019 but this was not enough to catch the attention of administration.
Despite such grim scenario, the unscrupulous have been allowed to use the arrival of the holy months of Ramazan for making unfair profits on the cost of masses due to inaction by the authorities concerned. The masses are made to see the annual ritual in which some top officials give directions to the district administration to ‘remain vigilant’ and discourage profiteers by initiating strict action which has never been applied, he added.
The Former Minister said that the high inflation prior to Ramazan has made many basic food items out of reach for the common man. Now people with limited means which are in the majority are finding it difficult to make ends meet as prices of all basic commodities have skyrocketed.
He observed that the tool of artificial shortage of necessities has being used which has also taken a toll on the masses while all the claims for provision of items of daily use on economic rates to the masses and strict action against profiteers have remained unimplemented due to obvious reasons. The statements about action against the mafia, activating monitoring committees, checking and raids by price control magistrates etc., have proved to be eyewash as the rising demand for edible items ahead of Ramazan the price hike ghost has come out in the shape of profiteers and the hoarders and prices of essential commodities were witnessing considerable increase. Masses feel that a free hand is given to those who see this month as an opportunity to skin masses for profiteering.
The former minister said that prices of necessities fall before the holy month in many Islamic countries, the same happens in western countries before Christmas and at the occasion of Holi in India but it’s entirely different in Pakistan which is very disappointing. The opportunity is used to milk masses reeling under inflation with no relief in sight while the government always rely on flowery statements avoiding any meaningful action to provide relief to the masses which is its responsibility.