ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday pledged to award an exemplary punishment to all those found guilty in the in-depth probe into the flour and sugar price hikes.

In a tweet, the prime minister said that the nation should rest assured that all those responsible will be held accountable and penalized after an in-depth probe into the sugar and flour price hikes.

He further said that the government is taking various measures to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man.

“I understand the difficulties of ordinary people including salaried class and we have decided to give them relief, come what may. My govt will be announcing various measures in the Cabinet on Tuesday that will be taken to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man,” he added.

The tweet comes a day after the prime minister ordered a reduction in the prices of food items as his government has not only been drawing scathing criticism from the opposition for the rising inflation, poverty and unemployment rates, but also some members from within its own ranks have been ringing the alarm bells.

“We came to power for the welfare of the poor. We have no right to continue staying in power if we don’t care about them,” Imran Khan said while presiding over a meeting to review the prices of basic commodities, particularly food items.

“We will do whatever it takes to provide relief to the poor,” he added, directing his economic team to take every possible step to bring down the prices of flour, cooking oil, pulses, sugar and rice among other essential edibles.

The premier said that his government would ensure the provision of basic food items to the common man. “The government will provide ration to those who cannot afford to buy essential edibles. They will be assisted through the Ehsaas Programme,” he explained.

The premier blamed his predecessors and hoarders for the surge in the prices of essential commodities across the country.

Public at large has been squarely hit by the rampant inflation as the Consumer Price Index jumped to 14.6 per cent in January due to an increase in food and energy cost.

In a single month, the headline inflation increased by 2 per cent, which was quite alarming at a time when people’s wages were shrinking. This is for the first time in recent years that the headline inflation reading has surpassed the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) key policy rate of 13.25 per cent.

The core inflation, calculated after excluding energy and food prices, increased in both urban as well as rural areas last month.