ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the Punjab government for blocking the supply of wheat.
An application submitted by the K-P government through Advocate General Latif Yousafzai says that the Punjab government has imposed unannounced restrictions for the past 20 days in regard to the movement of wheat.
The application further states that checkposts have been established, stopping trucks loaded with wheat on routes leading to K-P.
“These restrictions are blocking the flow of wheat to K-P which is not only adversely affecting the transportation, but is also creating a shortage of wheat in the market. This is causing an increase in the rate of the atta (flour) at a time when all experts are unanimous on bumper wheat crop this year, and prices of wheat and flour are unusually decreasing during the harvest” says the application.
The K-P government had requested the top court on Monday, headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, to issue an appropriate order to all provinces, especially Punjab, to avoid creating any hindrances in the procurement of wheat for its province.
A copy of the K-P government application is available with the Express Tribune.
The bench will resume the hearing of a constitutional plea filed by Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Secretary General Liaquat Baloch tomorrow (Tuesday) regarding the price escalation of flour.
The PTI government has stated that Article 151 of the constitution ensures the free flow of edible commodities through Pakistan.
It also stated that for the year 2013-2014, the federal government has fixed the target of the procurement of wheat to 0.450 million tons for the province of K-P. It has added that the said target of procurement of wheat is to be achieved during the current crop season ending by June 30, 2014.
The application further states that millers in K-P are facing difficulties in transporting wheat which they are purchasing in the markets of Punjab for grinding in their mills. It added that the secretary food and minister food of K-P have approached the federal and Punjab governments via letters to lift the ban, but there has been no result so far.
It has been said that the chief minister had approved the summary on April 18 which increased the support price from Rs 1200 per 40 kilograms (kg) to Rs 1250. The increase of Rs 50 was made to encourage growers, farmers and parties to offer wheat for sale to the food department of K-P and enable it to meet the target.
The application says that “the food department also made necessary arrangements including obtaining a loan of Rs10 billion from the bank of Khyber at 3 months KIBORE + 0.60% pa and dispatched “bardana” to different PRCs and purchase points. The harvesting of wheat started from 15 March, 2014 in Sindh from 15 April, 2014 in parts of Punjab.
K-P estimates of local production are at 1.100 million tones but harvesting has not yet gained momentum, says the application.
It has also been said that the provincial assembly of K-P, on a point of order, also discussed the ban imposed by the Punjab government on movement to the province on May 13, 2014.
On the last date of the hearing of the case regarding the price of flour the SC directed the attorney general for Pakistan as well as all advocate generals to assist it regarding the constitutional consequences of the failure of five executive governments in providing the supply of basic food necessities to the citizens of the country.
The bench also expressed dissatisfaction over unavailability of flour on affordable prices throughout the country.
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