ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday directed Advocate General Punjab to submit reply over the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa government’s complaint that Punjab and other provinces are not allowing procurement and transportation of wheat for KP.
Advocate General KPK Abdul Latif Yousafzai through CMA apprised the court that the province is facing serious difficulties as Punjab government has imposed unannounced restrictions for the last 20 days on the movement of wheat and established check posts on roads leading to Khyber Pukhtunkhawa and stopped trucks loaded with wheat.
He contended that these restrictions are blocking the flow of wheat to Khyber Pukhtunkhawa, which is not only adversely affecting the procurement drive, but also creating shortage of wheat in the market causing increase in flour rate at a time when all the experts are unanimous on bumper wheat crop this year and prices of wheat and flour are usually decreasing during the harvest.
The KP government prayed to the apex court to issue directions to all the provinces, especially Punjab province to allow and not to create hindrance in procurement and transportation of wheat for the KP.
During the proceedings, the court ruled for safeguarding the fundamental rights of the people enshrined in Article 9 and 38 of the constitution and directed Attorney General for Pakistan to submit a comprehensive report pertaining to steps being taken for provision of sustainable nutrition to the vulnerable segment of society.
“Whatever we can, we will do wherever people’s rights are not fully protected by the concerned authorities as enshrined in the constitution,” Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked while heading a three-member bench that heard Jamaat-e-Islami petition regarding increase in flour price.
The court directed the Attorney General to hold a meeting with Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the advocate generals of the four provinces and evolve mechanism in light of the research conducted by the SC staff pertaining to flour supply to the vulnerable segment of the society.
The research staff of the apex court on the direction of the bench submitted a research report, containing example of other countries.
The court directed the federation and the provincial governments to take concrete steps for the provision of sustainable nutrition to the vulnerable segment of society.
Earlier, during the hearing, Additional Attorney General Attique Shah submitted that fixation of flour price and its implementation was the major problem.
He suggested that all the law officers of the provinces should deliberate upon the issue for the redressal of the problem.
Justice Jawad S Khawaja, however, stressed that the federation is required to do the needful. Taufiq Asif informed the court that still a bag of 20 kg of flour is being sold at Rs 1150 in Rawalpindi.
Razaq Mirza Advocate General Punjab, however, contradicted his statement and said that flour is available at Rs660 throughout Punjab.
Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Seerat Asghar that they have replaced the ration card system with the grant of money on monthly basis, so that the people could by other commodities as well.
The court observed that both the poor and rich are paid subsidies, but what is specifically done for the poor. Attique Shah remarked that the main problem is the fixation of price and its implementation.
The case was adjourned till May 28.