The Lahore High Court on Monday again allowed more time to the federal and the Punjab governments to file their replies on a petition for stronger punishments for hoarding, black marketing and profiteering during Ramazan and the governments’ failure to control prices of essential commodities.
Assistant Advocate General Sirajul Islam, representing the Punjab government, informed Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan that a similar petition was pending adjudication before another bench. He asked the judge to attach this petition with the pending petition.
Petitioner Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique said that his plea sought to bring attention to the hoarding of edible commodities and price control ahead of Ramazan. He requested the court to treat it separately.
He said that the Punjab government had failed to curb hoarding and overcharging. The judge, however, remarked that he would decide who was responsible for this after seeing replies from the governments.
A deputy attorney general sought time to file a reply on behalf of the federal government. Accepting the requests, the court adjourned the hearing till Aug 15.
Advocate Siddique had filed the petition on behalf of the Judicial Activism Panel stating that some groups were profiting in Ramazan and the federal and provincial governments had failed to control the prices of essential commodities. He said that the governments were ignoring their constitutional responsibility of providing relief to the people.
He held the prime minister and the chief minister responsible for the current inflation and hoarding crisis, saying that they should be questioned for this.
He suggested stronger punishments for black marketers, unlawful profiteers and those involved in adulteration. He suggested that the government restore the magistracy to implement laws and to control prices and hoarding.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.
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