Beenish Saleem |
Ramadan, the sacred month of Muslims is a blessing from Allah, for the entire Muslim Ummah. Muslims from all around the world immensely value this sacred month. The Holy month brings with it, tremendous happiness as the month is known for getting closer to God. Along with fasting from sunrise to sunset, Muslims practice their compulsory religious duties otherwise known as the five pillars of Islam – Salah, Zakat, Hajj, Shahadah and Sawm.
It is in Ramadan, the holiest month of the entire Islamic calendar, that the Muslim world faces increased worship and prayers, reading and recitation of the Quran, religious devotion, spiritual reflection, self-examination and charity to the poor. However, as for as Pakistan is concerned, the country faces a hike in prices, which makes basic necessities hard to obtain, making the month quite exhausting for the people of the country.
Price of everyday commodities are hiked such as fruits and vegetables which are necessary because of the summer season and not to mention, helpful in maintaining essential nutrients in the body which are lost while fasting.. The prices are hiked by almost double hence making fasting a difficult exercise for Muslims. In regard to this, all over the world, It is usually observed that on religious festivals, governments of every country provide subsidies on daily-use commodities but in Pakistan, the opposite is done.
General elections 2018 are also near so government and other political parties are busy in their political campaigns. However, there is a dire need for the implementation of the price list so that the general public can benefit from the government policies.
Even if the government does so, in Pakistan there is no check and balance to see if the said prices are being implemented. Here, we observe price hikes on special occasions like Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitar and other religious and cultural festivals. An average or less affluent citizen cannot afford such expensive commodities. As a result, it creates a feeling of deprivation among the lower income class. Although the government has issued a price list for Ramadan, the implementation of the price list is the main goal.
Similar to the previous years, the government has recently announced a ‘Ramadan relief package 2018’ in all utility stores, giving a subsidy of Rs1.73 billion. The utility stores Ramadan Relief Package will be implemented from the first day of Ramadan and will continue till chand raat. The government has given the subsidy on 19 daily-use items and therefore, the concession of 5 to 30 rupees will be granted on these 19 items.
The Punjab government is also going to set up Ramadan bazars in different cities of the province along with setting up Madni Dastarkhuwan in different cities, feeding the working class in a more efficient manner. No doubt, it is a good initiative by the government but it has been noticed that utility stores have failed to maintain a balance list, which is issues every year but followed by none, Therefore, due to a poor check and balance system, vendors, shopkeepers and utility store holders seem to have their own ways.
Consequently, even if the government sends out a reduced price list to sellers, there is no check and balance to see if the said prices are being implemented. With this in mind, stalls located on streets continue to charge hefty amounts for the same vegetable, or perhaps fruit, that they were selling at half the price before Ramadan.
In regard to this, all over the world, It is usually observed that on religious festivals, governments of every country provide subsidies on daily-use commodities but in Pakistan, the opposite is done.
Therefore, it is of no surprised that although Ramadan has not started yet, prices of basic commodities like vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, chicken, gram flour and other such staple foods have incredibly increased. General elections 2018 are also near so government and other political parties are busy in their political campaigns. However, there is a dire need for the implementation of the price list so that the general public can benefit from the government policies.
Merely political processions are not enough for victory in elections. The public wants to see the practical implementation of the promises which are made during political processions by the leaders. This month is one of the most important moments in time for the government to show their efficiency and competence in order to win public hearts and gain maximum votes.