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Unprecedented Wheat Shortage Sparks Fears of Anarchy in Pakistan

The food crisis in Pakistan serves as an illustration of how impoverished residents are often overlooked during times of economic turmoil. Despite enduring months of severe inflation and scarcity of food, those in positions of authority neglected to furnish essential aid.

Shivam Dwivedi
Unprecedented Wheat Shortage Sparks Fears of Anarchy in Pakistan
Unprecedented Wheat Shortage Sparks Fears of Anarchy in Pakistan

The Pakistan Military Monitor (PMM) reports that Pakistan is facing an unparalleled food crisis, marked by a severe shortage of wheat nationwide, which could result in unrest. Disasters tend to have the most significant impact on the most vulnerable members of society, who often require a prolonged period to recover from their suffering. 

PMM suggests that the food crisis has cast a pessimistic shadow on the future of the impoverished in the country. Scarcity is resulting in skyrocketing prices for the main grain, which are reaching new highs every week. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics' most recent Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), prices rose 47.2 percent year on year for the week ending April 19, 2023. The Pakistani media is flooded with sad accounts of pandemonium and stampedes at markets from all over the country.

According to a recent story in the popular Pakistani newspaper 'The Express Tribune,' thousands of people throng to marketplaces every day and spend hours searching for subsidized flour sacks, which are in short supply. According to PMM, footage posted on social media practically every day attest to the seriousness of the current issue. Hundreds of people were seen hanging from a wheat flour-carrying truck in a terrible video uploaded last month by Faran Jeffery, a UK-based person.

A toddler trying to go close to it was also seen narrowly avoiding being run over by the truck. Several deaths have also been reported as a result of poor people's struggle for the humble grain. According to PMM, this includes deaths caused by stampedes in lines at government distribution locations for the needy.

The high inflation rate coincided with Eid, making it difficult for many Pakistanis to acquire needed products for the celebrations. According to a World Food Programme (WFP) research, the price of wheat has climbed by 74% in the last year alone. To make matters worse, corruption's fangs are not sparing even the impoverished who are surrounded by gloom.

According to PMM, there have been stories in the media of Pakistani authorities taking flour bags. In April, a prosecution was filed against 11 people, including distribution personnel, for stealing 8,000 bags of flour in Chiniot, Punjab province. Some fake tokens were also discovered at the local flour distribution centre.

According to PMM, government agencies have opted to blame the situation on low agricultural output due to adverse weather conditions, water shortages, locust assaults, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, those in charge of addressing the issue failed to mention factors such as supply chain corruption, hoarding, and black marketing.

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