Minister rules out import of food items from India


Opposition leader terms minister ‘a changed person’ after getting ministry

LAHORE: Provincial minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment Sheikh Allauddin on Monday ruled out any import of essential food items including potatoes, tomatoes and onions from the neighboring country India and said that his government would rely on the domestic growers to ease down the skyrocketing prices of these items. “I am ready to sacrifice my ministry but our vegetable items would not be imported from India on the wish of powerful mafia,” the provincial commerce minister said categorically.

He was speaking on the point of order during the 32nd session of the Punjab Assembly on Monday that started after a delay of one and a half hour from its scheduled time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan in the chair.

The minister also clarified that his statement which he gave last week was misquoted in different sections of the press and the impression was given that he has said that people should eat cats and dogs during difficult times. “I quoted the historical example of World War II and my example was taken completely out of context, both by the opposition and some sections of the media,” he said.

The minister further added that the prices of edible items in Punjab are far lower than the prices of KPK as the chicken is being sold at the price of 155 per Kg in Punjab while the price of the same commodity is 200 per kg in KPK but the opposition is not ready to appreciate us for keeping the prices low. “A powerful mafia wants us to import the items from India but let me assure them that I will not let it happen at any cost,” he said.

The minister further added that the chief minister has personally taken notice of the exorbitant prices of food items and he has just chaired a two-hour long meeting over this very issue today.

Responding to the minister, leader of the opposition Mian Mehmood ur Rashid said that the rulers of Punjab immediately bring the government of KPK in their arguments simply forgetting that they are answerable to the people of Punjab rather than KPK. “The people have eaten the meat of donkeys and horses during this government’s tenure as your own food department has claimed several times. God forbid that we will be left with no option except to eat cats and dogs during this regime,” the opposition leader said. He urged the government to implement the agriculture policy and said that the prices of commodities have increased 500 times during the last decade.

The opposition leader came down hard on the minister while saying that the position of minister had completely changed Sheikh Allauddin in few months. The minister refuted the claim of opposition leader and said that neither he lives in the government house nor he travels on the official vehicle.