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PM expresses concern over rising prices of edible items

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed the resolve to ensure availability of wheat and sugar in adequate quantity, officials said.

The PM was chairing a meeting to review stock of wheat and sugar, demand and supply, import as per future requirements and precise of essential items.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan also directed massive crackdown against hoarders of wheat and sugar. The prime minister was given a detailed briefing over the current stock situation of wheat and sugar and import. He was also apprised of the prices of daily use commodities.

The prime minister directed the provincial governments to further increase supply of wheat, so that its sufficient availability in the market should be ensured. He also directed for submission of detailed schedule over the imported wheat.

The prime minister directed the provincial chief secretaries to conduct physical feasibility of the current sugar stock in the mills. The Punjab Chief Secretary was also directed to announce sugarcane crushing date in the earliest. The Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Sindh were directed to announce the official price rate of the sugarcane as early as possible. The meeting was attended by Minister for Industries Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, PM’s advisors Abdul Razak Dawood and Ishrat Hussain, PM’s special assistants Lt Gen (retd) Asim Salim Bajwa and Dr Shahbaz Gill, relevant secretaries and other senior officials. The provincial chief secretaries attended the meeting through video link.

Also, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to evolve comprehensive strategy to bring down prices of essential items. While briefing media about the decisions taken in the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said the Prime Minister expressed serious concerns over rising prices of edible items.

The Minister said cabinet was given detailed briefing about stocks of wheat and sugar in the country and it said that sufficient quantity of these commodities is available in the country. He said wheat prices are higher in Sindh due to provincial government’s reluctance to release the stock.

Syed Shibli Faraz said the cabinet was briefed that target of cotton crop for current year cannot be achieved due to massive losses inflicted by rains and floods. He said the cabinet also approved to have coordination with provincial governments, police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure security measures on occasion of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain [RA].

The Minister said the meeting was informed that despite liabilities of 400 billion rupees and difficult situation, Pakistan International Airlines has increased its revenue up to 7.6 billion rupees. He said the cabinet lauded performance of PIA for repatriating 250,000 stranded Pakistanis from abroad. Shibli Faraz said, Planning Minister Asad Umar briefed the meeting about economic indicators, which are showing positive signs.

He said foreign remittances have increased beyond our expectations and current account deficit is continuously under control for the last two months. He said country’s foreign exchange reserves have reached to 20 billion dollars. Regarding political situation in the country, Syed Shibli Faraz said opposition’s narrative is similar to that of the enemies of Pakistan as opposition leaders are talking as if they are foes of Pakistan.

He said India is trying its best to push Pakistan to the black list of Financial Action Task Force. The Minister said Pakistan’s adversaries are attempting to weaken our institutions to create a situation prevailing in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He said they want to create chaos, political instability and economic unrest in Pakistan. Responding a question, the Minister said the Prime Minister Imran Khan is working for a developed and corruption free Pakistan and an impartial and transparent accountability will continue in the country. He said all citizens are equal in the eyes of law.

Also, Shibli Faraz clarified that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government were not behind the sedation FIR filed against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying that someone related to the opposition may have done it.

“This FIR can be done by anyone. You can do it against me. I will say that someone [opposition] of theirs must have done it,” Faraz said during the press conference after the federal cabinet’s meeting.

The minister further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government should not be involved in the matter. “ Punjab government will find out who did this and investigate it. This has nothing to do with us [federal government],” said Faraz. He added that PM Imran was neither “free” neither does he go after FIRs. “Whoever has done it will be found out and the government has nothing to do with it. Anyone can do it hence you should not put it on us,” said Faraz.

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