After an astronomical increase in the prices of medicines, sugar and flour, the new items that are going out of ordinary folks’ reach are tomatoes and onions. Although the government has allowed the import of vegetables, the equilibrium has yet to be achieved in the market. Ideally, with the arrival of imported vegetables, the prices should have come down. But the reverse is happening, which means that increase is nothing but market manipulation, plain and simple. This is not the first time when the prices of essential items have increased either.

With the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the situation has only deteriorated further. PTI’s government has failed miserably in providing relief to the ordinary person in terms of price stability. Almost a year ago, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan accepted his government’s failure in controlling prices of essential items. He had promised the nation that his government would not allow the market manipulators to make excessive profits. However, Khan’s government is seemingly helpless before these hidden profiteers.

While the PM has taken notice of the price hike once again, the prices of vegetables keep hitting new peaks. Why is the government unable to take action? How have these price manipulators not been caught after so long? We have heard the instructions of ‘devising a comprehensive strategy’ many a time. But neither this mantra nor the warnings that ‘the profiteers will be dealt with firmly’ bar them from doing what they do: robbing the public in broad daylight. The officials are failing now and then to ensure that the sellers care for consumer welfare.

All the steps that the incumbent government has taken so far to stabilise the economy are not helping the ordinary people in any way. Even though the officials know the tricks of the rich suppliers to maximise their profits, they cannot do anything against them. Consumer’s protection is a fundamental responsibility of the state. And the administration’s inability to put fulfil this duty is the most depressing fact.