ISLAMABAD - The senators of Awami National Party (ANP) in the Upper House of Parliament on Wednesday deplored the Punjab government over what they called the ban on transportation of wheat, saying the move had caused dearth of the commodity in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
ANP Senator Ilyas Bilour, whose family also owns a flourmill in Peshawar, while speaking on a call attention notice in the Senate criticised the Punjab government for imposing ban on transportation of wheat to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Similarly, ANP Senator Zahid Khan told reporters that the shortage of wheat in KP was due to ban its supply by Punjab government, warning a tit-for-tat reaction will come in case the ban was not lifted.
However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Food Minister Qalandar Lodhi told The Nation on phone that neither was there any dearth of wheat in the province nor was there any ban on its supply from Punjab to KP, adding that some rival political parties were fuelling ethnic politics in the name of wheat.
He said that the provincial government would start work on procurement of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat from May, arguing that shortage of the commodity could not happen at a time when wheat harvesting in most parts of KP had been completed.
According to Naeem Butt, executive member and ex president All Pakistan Flour Mills Association owners of flour factories in KP had staged protest demonstration against the attitude of Punjab police for not allowing trucks loaded with wheat to KP areas.
He said that the Punjab government had imposed unannounced ban on transportation of wheat to KP, complaining that Punjab police were checking the quantity of wheat despite that there was no ban on inter-provincial transportation of commodities.
But Deputy Director Food Department Punjab Chaudhary Ajmal told The Nation that wheat suppliers lacking proper licence were stopped at entry points to other provinces, adding that there was no ban on private wheat suppliers that possessed licences. “Police intercept only those licence holders that transport more than 24 tonnes of wheat to other provinces. Since harvesting season has got late in Punjab, we are careful about illegal transportation of the commodity,” Ajmal said.