Commodity politics – Shopkeepers accuse PML-N of favouritism in sugar distribution | Pakistan Today

Commodity politics – Shopkeepers accuse PML-N of favouritism in sugar distribution

LAHORE: Shopkeepers and retailers have alleged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers are distributing sugar to favourites and ignoring the majority of shops, Pakistan Today has learnt on Sunday.
The availability of sugar also disturbed due to closure of Akbari Mandi and no supplies during Eid days. It is not for the first time that PML-N is using commodities for bagging votes, as similar tactics were adopted in sasta ata (cheap flour) distribution at tandoors and to shops, the shopkeepers said.
The sugar remained in short supply and people have to purchase it at the rate of Rs 80 per Kg. The shopkeepers said they don’t have enough sugar to supply regular customers. They said this meant a fall in other sales. “I tried to get sugar from the local dealer at government announced rates but he refused to give me sugar saying he did not have it.
Late later he gave it to another shopkeeper,” said Javed Latif adding the other shopkeeper is worker of PML-N and he used his political influence. He alleged traders were being discriminated against during the sugar distributions. “Why are only PML-N workers obliged and others left,” he lamented.
Another shopkeeper Iqbal Ahmed of Township said he is famous for his political affiliation of Jamaat Islami (JI) and because of his affiliation; he was ignored in sugar supplies. “A day before Eid, I went to main distributor of the area and asked for sugar but he refused to give at government announced rates,” Iqbal said,
adding, “the distributor clearly said either I have to pay extra amount or there will be no sugar.” Another retailer Zahoor Ahmed of Muslim Town said it was not for the first time that PML-N is using government power for bagging votes for the next elections rather in past there were many such incidents.
“The subsidized flour is provided only to selected shops for confirming the voters,” he said adding the subsidy is being paid from the government fund. “It was public money and was collected from our taxes but it was used to strengthen PML-N but no one paid attention to it,” he lamented.
Lahore Karyana & General Merchants Association, Muslim Tajar Ittehad President Rao Muhammad Akram Khan said there is no supply of sugar at controlled rates. “We are not getting sugar at government announced rates and only ‘special’ shops are getting it,” he said adding we have faced such problems in the past and now we are ready for it in future.
He said in the whole episode not only the shopkeepers are suffering but also the customers. “The customers have to travel to specific shops for buying one or two kilograms of sugar thus their sufferings have increased,” Khan said adding the closure of main market disturbed the supply. Meanwhile sugar remained in low supply at Sunday bazaars of the city and at some places people complained about lower weight being used.
“I bought a 2.5 kg bag of sugar and when I checked the weight from somewhere else I learnt there was only 2.3 kg of sugar in it,” said a customer Munir Ahmed at Shalimar Sunday bazaar. Lahore Sugar Dealers Association President Asghar Butt said wholesale shops were closed due to Eid and there was no fresh supplies due to suspension of transport. He said the supplies would improve from Monday (today) with opening of wholesale shops.

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