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Will Pakistan’s Atta Crisis be the Nemesis of Imran Khan?

Published Jan 30, 2020
Updated Feb 29, 2020

As the common man has run out of the basic staple, “atta,” Imran Khan government has run out of ideas  despite the tall boasts made at the WEF, Davos by the PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan made attempted to make an impression at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 22, 2020 that all was well with the economy.

However the situation down home remains perilous.  One element of the crisis is the lack of supply of, “atta,” wheat flour in the country which is a staple diet for most Pakistan’s the daily bread so to say.

Pakistan’s Punjab region much as its Indian counter part is known as the bread basket of the nation but mismanagement of the agrarian situation is evident indicating failure of the government at large.

The crisis was a manifestation of flawed policies of unrestrained export of wheat stocks in last few months of 2019 without evaluating the domestic stocks available to cater for the needs of the people based on demand.

Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) had sought an immediate ban on the export of wheat but the government had refused to do so in May June 2019, later this was imposed but again resumed in October.

The ham handed manner in which the shortage is being tackled is evident with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) asked to investigate hoarding which has further irked the flour mill owners with some of them dropping production.

A crackdown is the only option that is possibly envisaged by Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf  (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Mr Imran

Clearly the government has run out of ideas to manage common situations that were best avoidable with better governance.

With inflation above 12 percent, the average Pakistani is facing a major challenge of a run on the money as well as lack of supply of the essential atta in the markets.

The federal government is blaming the provincial governments for the crisis, with three of the provinces being governed by the PTI, the Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan has no excuse for the disastrous situation facing the common man in Pakistan.

While the Khan government supported by the Army may not go down due to the atta crisis, this is one more black mark in governance in a list that is piling up.