Court flays govt over rising flour price

* SC seeks detailed reply from federation and provinces on price-fixing formula with regard to flour until April 14

ISLAMABAD: Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on Monday asked what justification was left for a democratic government to stay at the helm of affairs if it could not provide flour to the common man at subsidised rate.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court – presided over by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja – was hearing JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch’s petition against the growing prices of flour.
Justice Khawaja further remarked, “The dogs of rulers are eating jam. Land worth billions of rupees is being sold out at throwaway rate. Million of rupees are being spent on fun fairs.” 
“We cannot see the people dying this way. The federation and provinces should know it well that wherever there is breach of constitution and fundamental human rights, the SC will make necessary interference at every cost, and not spare anyone.” 
He observed that women were selling their children and people were committing self-immolation due to inflation. “Essential commodities are not available to the common man. The government has raised the prices of wheat grain to such a level that the common man is too much worried. A democratic government cares for the rights of people, but why it is not being done at present?”
The court sought a detailed reply from the federation and provinces on the price-fixing formula with regard to flour until April 14.
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Attiq Shah appeared in the court for the hearing on Monday.
The court remarked, “We had given a notice to the provinces. Tell us that if the provinces have also let the people starve to death after the passage of the 18th Amendment.”
Attiq Shah informed the bench that the orders in this regard had been forwarded to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. “A meeting was held in this regard with them. We are ready to provide its report in the chamber.”
Justice Khawaja remarked, “Tell us what has been done. These meetings have benefited the poor nation to what extent? All law officers should tell if it is the job of the SC to tell [the governments that] the poor people are dying.”
Attique Shah said, “It (SC) is an institution for providing relief; therefore, you can issue orders.”
On this, Justice Khawaja remarked, “Enough is enough. The government should be compassionate with the poor people now. Reports of Sindh and Punjab are before us. The reports of remaining provinces may come.”
He said that Liaqat Baloch from the JI had filed the petition. “How long the court should keep on doing the jobs of the government? Will the government do its job, or otherwise?”
The judge said that the federation fixes prices and the provincial governments control them. “How will it be done? A farmer should be paid the price for his hard work.”
The court directed the DAG to combine the reports of the federal government and all the four provinces and evolve a document. “Inflation has gone skyrocketing. 
The government is enjoying feasts, and flour at low price is not available to the common man. People are dying.”
The DAG said that a comprehensive report would be filed for the assistance of the court. 

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