Breaking away from the regrettable tradition of political expedience and self-serving compromises that has come to define much of Pakistan’s history of governance, Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a bold step towards the right direction. First, by ordering an independent inquiry into the sugar and wheat price hike despite immense pressure from both inside the party and out, the PM asserted himself as the ultimate decision-making authority. Now, by releasing the findings before the public, PM Khan has taken a huge political gamble since powerful party insiders and government allies are identified to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the crisis.

This is an encouraging development from the voters who brought the party into power hoping for a transparent and effective government that would put their interests above all else. What has kept the base of the party unified during challenging times is the belief that where others may falter, the PM can ultimately be relied upon to do the right thing. As results of the forensic analyses are awaited, the PM is likely to find himself in a position that requires more difficult decisions. At such a time, he would greatly benefit from the support of party members and the wider public.

This was certainly not a first as far as price hikes go. The preceding years have witnessed similar developments. What had unfortunately been missing was a robust response to repeated calls for accountability. Inaction had only served to embolden entities looking to profit from artificial price hikes that always hurt the common man. The PM’s firm response may yet break the cycle of corruption and collusion. Perhaps this would also be an opportune moment to identify institutional weaknesses that allow malpractice in the first place. The Competition Commission of Pakistan and other relevant government bodies ought to be empowered to effectively deal with issues pertaining to collusion and monopolisation within key industries.