In a recent talk show, Mr Jehangir Tareen, the former Minister for Industries, talked of a free market economy. He was trying to defend the price hike caused by the cartel of sugar mil owners. Mr Tareen himself has two of them. Does Mr Tareen know that in a free market economy, cartels are not allowed and strict regulatory controls are part and parcel of the system. In a truly free market, people in executive authority who exercise control over any industry must not have a conflict of interest. Mr Tareen, despite being the owner of a number of industries has served in the various governments as Minister for Industries. The industrialists of Pakistan, who have made a fortune in the last two decades, must realise that they owe a lot to this country for the opportunities it provided to them. Free market economies have survived because the rich pay taxes and the state provides welfare to deprived sections of the population. No system can survive if it is based on the kind of loot and plunder, without any accountability, that we have. -ANEELA CHANDIO, Sukkur, via e-mail, August 25.