Wheat crisis: Firefighting continues as govt claims 'conspiracy' against PTI.


LAHORE -- Instead of accepting its negligence and mismanagement, the provincial government has termed the current wheat and flour crisis a conspiracy hatched against Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Punjab Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry claimed that the shortage of wheat and flour in the province is a pre-planned conspiracy against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. 'People responsible for this crisis should keep in mind that neither the prime minister nor the chief minister will be replaced over this baseless propaganda.'

Punjab Minister for Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal were also present in the press conference.

The food minister said the incumbent government was the first during the past decade that had disbursed complete and timely payments to cultivators for their produce. 'Gunny bags have been distributed among farmers in a transparent manner and every single grain of wheat has been procured from them respectfully.'

It is the PTI-led government that introduced a gunny bags policy for all and provided a toll-free phone number for farmers to register their complaints regarding distribution of bags, the food minister added. He said the provincial government had demonstrated a responsible behaviour and procured wheat of its share, whereas the authorities in Sindh had failed to buy even a grain. 'Today, Sindh government is making claims that it has 0.85 million tonnes of wheat reserves but when a NAB team conducted raids on their godowns, they found mud and sand in the bags,' he alleged.

The food minister also claimed that allegations levelled by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in Sindh, regarding export of 0.7 million tons of wheat by the PTI-led government went against the facts.

He maintained that when the PTI-led government came into power, it had 7.3 million tonnes of wheat reserves of the last four years. 'We did not export these reserves but sold them in the local market.'

Now when Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have no reserves of wheat, the Punjab chief minister has allowed provision of wheat to other provinces, he highlighted. The provincial government has decided to provide 5,000 tonnes of wheat to KPK on a daily basis, he added. 'The provincial government will also provide wheat to Sindh and Balochistan, if required.'

The minister said the provincial...

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