Thursday, September 11, 2008, Ramazan 10, 1429 A.H   ISSN 1563-9479
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 WAKE-UP CALL FOR POLITICIANS
People going to bed hungry due to record price hike

Monday, September 01, 2008
by Noor Aftab

Islamabad

With presidential elections only a few days away, the man in the street is least bothered about it. His main concern is the skyrocketing prices of items of daily use, more so, as the holy month of Ramazan is just around the corner.

Some people may dispute with the findings of a survey conducted by ‘The News’ on Sunday, but it portrays the hard ground realities. The poor and middle class people, who constitute a major proportion of our population, are under tremendous pressure due to the unprecedented price hike.

It was quite a surprise to know that out of ten people interviewed during the survey in Sector G-6, in the heart of the metropolis and a few kilometres from Aiwan-e-Sadr, only three of them were able to name all three major presidential candidates fielded by the mainstream political parties.

On the other hand, all of them thoroughly informed this correspondent about prices of kitchen items, ranging from potatoes, rice, pulses, vegetables, flour, and meat to cooking oil and ghee.

Rizwan Ghani, a resident of Sector G-6, said “It is better not to talk about our politicians who have no heart or feelings for poor people. They only know their political interests and use the common man when they need political support to enter into power corridors.”

He said that prices of items of daily use have increased manifold before the advent of Ramazan and relevant quarters have only been paying lip service to the problems of people.

Two people interviewed by ‘The News,’ both working as clerks in government departments, were of the view that nothing could be changed at the grassroots level. They said that wishful thinking of people would not turn into a reality unless someone with an empathetic approach comes up in the political scenario.

Both of them referred to various political developments during last few months and raised a question whether any change for the good took place in people’s lives as a result of all these events being dubbed as prelude to a bright future of the nation.

A housewife, who requested not to be named, said that they had missed meals several times during last few days as the salary of her husband was ‘eaten up’ by the unprecedented inflation in first two weeks of the month.

“Sometimes I have nothing to offer to my children when they return from their school. In this situation, it is very hard for me to hold back my tears. In these trying times, I pray to God to change our destiny,” she said.

The residents of Sector G-6 also face a threat of losing their residential units as the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is planning to construct flats after demolishing the existing structures.

Zahida Shabbir, a housewife, said that most shopkeepers in the markets of Sector G-6 don’t display price lists. “When people ask them to show price list they argue that rates are being changed constantly so they cannot prepare new lists every day.”

Renowned minority leader Julius Salik said that he has launched a campaign with a slogan ‘Gharibon ka ye nara hai, Pakistan hamara hai’ (It is a slogan of the poor that Pakistan belongs to them) to make people aware of their social rights and privileges.

He said, “I interact with common people and shivers run down my spine when they talk about their miseries due to the unprecedented price hike in the country.”

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