Underprivileged segment of country suffers in Ramadan
August 03, 2012
“The truthful and honest merchant will be with prophets, the truthful and martyrs (on the day of resurrection”), saying of prophet Muhammad PBUH
It seems that the Muslims of today especially dwellers of Pakistan have forgotten the basic teachings of great religion, Islam. The religion exhorts its followers to refrain from evil and thus promises reward not only in this world but in the world hereafter. Though display of dishonesty takes place round the year but it reaches its zenith in the holy month of Ramadan. With the onset of the month the traders and sellers start hoarding and increase prices of commodities with deceptive manner. Such activities are not limited to any particular region or city but could be witnessed across the country.
Like previous years this Ramadan also witnessed substantial increase in the prices of all commodities, to the extent of around 60 percent. Fruits, vegetables and other commodities which are traditionally used in the holy month have gone beyond the reach of poor segment of the society. Food items which are being consumed especially in the month of Ramadan have registered substantial price hike.
It is not that the country has no check and balance system in place but it is being violated with the hobnob of government machinery. The government plagued with corruption has miserably failed to check the prices, as always.
“When the system is corrupt from top to bottom how one expects any good out of this system. We are not in position to sell products at government fixed rates which are irrational and unaffordable” , said a shopkeeper when asked why they are selling goods above fixed prices. Hoarders and profiteers can be heavily fined and could be sent to jail for a year, according to the law.
Country’s law does not allow hoarding and profiteering the magistrates have powers to fine and imprison anyone found guilty of such crimes but they have failed as usual to enforce writ of the law. “The reason is that the pyramid of society from top to bottom is corrupt, both financially and morally, which encourages criminals to continue with their crimes without fear of law”, observed a buyer.
Pakistan is faced with biggest problem of corruption. Recently the National Accountability Bureau, chairman Admiral Fasih Bukhari retired had revealed that the country suffers financial losses between Rs6 to 8 billion a day due to massive corruption. In the light of NAB chief’s revelation it could be estimated that up to Rs 240 billion are lost every month due to burgeoning corruption. The amount if calculated for the year goes up to Rs 2880 billion. The amount is nearly equal to the total outlay of the current budget.
When the top leadership of country is involved corruption then there should be no wonder if small sellers such as fruit and vegetable venders make money through unfair means. “Police in Pakistan enjoys unlimited powers they can arrest hoarders and profiteers. If police perform its duty honestly such crimes can be wiped out from the society within days”, says a lawyer.
In western countries on special occasions such as Christmas all traders and industrialists drastically reduce prices of commodities so that large number of people could buy and participate in the festivities. Even in India prices of commodities in Ramadan are strictly checked and government takes strict measures against hoarding and profiteering but Muslims of Pakistan haplessly suffer.
This year many items have been taken off the Iftar table, the suffers are the poor segment of the society. Provincial governments have set up cheap bazaars but the quality of product available in those bazaars is inferior. Islam forbids hoarding and profiteering but Muslim traders are inclined to take care of this world, they don’t want to be among prophets and martyrs?.