BHC lifts wheat transport ban, reserves decision on procurement irregularities

QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Thursday reserved its decision in the case concerning alleged irregularities in wheat procurement and directed the removal of Section 144, which restricted the transportation of wheat.

The case was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice Hashim Kakar and Justice Shaukat Rukhshani. Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti appeared in court, while the Chief Secretary was absent due to a busy schedule. Representatives from the Food Department also attended the hearing.

Chief Minister Bugti reported that the government had provided 150,000 sacks of wheat to farmers at a cost of 42 million rupees and requested permission to purchase an additional 150,000 sacks.

He proposed using the remaining funds for welfare projects in Jafarabad and Naseerabad, including the establishment of technical colleges and clean drinking water initiatives.

Chief Justice Kakar praised the Chief Minister’s suggestions but highlighted issues with the Food Department, noting that much of the wheat is either smuggled to Afghanistan or left to rot in warehouses. He emphasized the need for better management and criticised the misuse of government vehicles.

The Chief Justice also remarked that annually, 1.02 million sacks of wheat are produced in the Naseerabad Division, but the government only procures 500,000 sacks due to Section 144, leaving 520,000 sacks at risk of spoiling in homes.

The court, acknowledging numerous complaints about the Chief Secretary’s performance, promised to include its recommendations in the final decision.

After hearing all arguments, the court reserved its judgment on the wheat procurement case, marking a critical juncture in addressing agricultural management and bureaucratic efficiency in the province.


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