Urea for wheat, is oh so neat


Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar has directed the public sector grain storage organization Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supply Corporation (PASSCO) to take immediate steps to finalize the modalities for export of one million tons of wheat to Iran. The directions were given during a meeting of the sub-committee of ECC constituted for export of surplus wheat to Iran.
Minister for National food Security, Secretary Food Security, MD PASSCO and senior officials of Commerce attended the meeting. Pakistan and Iran have held talks last month on the export of wheat on barter trading basis but due to difference on price of wheat the talks were stalled. Iran has expressed its desire to import wheat and rice from Pakistan and in exchange it will be providing urea. The minister said that it was decided in principle that one million tons of surplus wheat from PASSCO stocks and rice will be exported to Iran under barter trade arrangement. He was of the views that the modalities should be finalized at the earliest so that first tranche may be exported and urea imported. Timely import of urea from Iran will benefit the farmers as Kharif season starting shortly. Secretary National Food Security, Shafqat Naghmi briefed the meeting on their meeting with Iranian authorities and said that the wheat would be exported and urea would be imported via sea route. Pakistan will import the urea quantity against the total price of wheat to be exported to Iran. He informed that Iran has requested to import first tranche of wheat in May. The formal approval will be taken from ECC next week in this regard to export the commodity.
Now as Lyari: If this is part of a building pattern, which it probably is, then things are definitely much grimmer than most of us had figured. Yet, as the interior minister himself hinted, there are numerous armed gangs operating in Lyari, the kind always on the lookout for the odd skirmish with government forces. If it develops into something like Swat or (yes) Lyari, all the better, but even if it’s more contained it does send the message across. If there is a novelty in the incident, it is that such episodes will no longer be confined to the untamed frontier. That, if we read it right, threatens to be the gift of this particular spring offensive, which is not to imply insurrection is any more tolerable up in the north. But it does considerably complicate matters that Karachi is the country’s commercial hub, the nerve centre of its money generation machinery.
And even if the stock market barely batted an eyelid – in fact posting near 300 points – locals rightly complain of deep damage to their lives, their habitat and, indeed, the country’s kitty. Also its image. Let’s not forget our popular electronic media, processing information via a visibly biased posture, flashing clashes round the clock, unnerving already apprehensive investors. Do they really do the best service they can to the nation? It shouldn’t be long before Lyari is brought under control. The operation would have cleansed much of the dirt that had been gathering there for far too long, so things should be quiet in the immediate future. But the episode has undoubtedly already flashed the highest-alert red light in intelligence and security circles. It has come as Waziristan, Parachinar, Bajaur, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and now Lyari. What’s to say how it will come next?