The Supreme Court of Pakistan during the hearing of case against increase in flour prices in the country has summoned provincial secretaries for ministry of Food with the program for provision of flour on lower prices to the poorest segments of the society.
Three-member bench of Apex Court comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman heard the sou-moto notice case taken on letter of Secretary General Jamat-e-Islami Liaqat Baloch on Tuesday.
Advocate Tauseef Asif appeared on behalf of JI leader while Secretary Food Security Seerat Asghar represented the federation, additional attorney general Attique Shah, provincial additional advocate generals, food directors were present in the court.
The apex court in its order said that provincial food secretaries should ensure their presence in the court along with program for provision of flour to the poorest segments of the society, adding that Secretaries would submit their affidavit that the implementation on the program given by them would be ensured.
The court has warned that if the secretaries failed to implement the program given by them than consequences of the same would be kept in mind and they have to tell the court that what steps have been taken so far since 0ctober 2013 on the court directives.
Meanwhile, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja has remarked that the federal and provincial governments are reluctant to follow the constitutional commands given in article 09 and 14 but apex court can not ignore the constitutional violation because constitution permits the apex court to take action if constitution is not being followed.
Additional attorney general and Provincial advocate generals appearing before the court informed the court that governments have taken steps for the betterment of the poorest segments of the society, all were referring towards Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and Utility Stores saying that subsidy was being given to the masses through BISP.
The court rejected their stance and observed that how subsidy can be given to the poorest segments of the society through Utility Stores, adding that all citizens including the judges, Chief Ministers and high ups also can purchase the subsidized food items from Utility Stores.
The court asked senior counsel Taufeq Asif to assist the court that what orders court should pass in current circumstances. Taufeeq Asif said that government is totally relying on BISP that is not sufficient to provide the relief to the poorest segments of the society.
Director Food Balochistan Ayaz Mando Khel failed to provide the details of fair price shops present in the province but advocate general informed that there is no fair price shop in Balochistan except Quetta but the shops in Quetta also not providing the subsidized things to masses from 2009.
Additional advocate general KPK and Director food KPK informed the court the 5 billion rupees have been allocated for the targeted subsidy to the masses of province but they could not tell the court that under which strategy it would be disbursed in the masses.
The court observe that there is some hope in KPK as it has taken step but when they talk about the committee than it seems that I would not be finalized, adding that since 8 months the case is under proceeding but no step has been taken any provincial and federal government.
Meanwhile additional Secretary food Punjab Dr. Nasir informed the court that no project of targeted subsidy is under the consideration of the government, adding that the “Sasta Tandoor” Sasti Roti” project could not succeeded.
The additional advocate General Sindh Tariq Meer Jat informed the court that legislation is being done for provision of the subsidy to the people of the province.
Upon that Justice Jawwad showing annoyance said that whether the piece of a paper can give the nutrition to the masses, adding that whether the people of Thar would become prosperous after legislation by the province. The governments have to take concrete steps for provision of relief to the poor people of the country.
The court directed the provincial law officers and officials of food ministries to remain present on next date of hearing and adjourned the hearing till July 07 (Monday).