The Prime Minister’s directive to his economic team of controlling the rapid price increase of food items in 15 days shows that the government is belatedly responding to what many perceive to be an urgent issue. It is about time the government intervenes to offer some much-needed respite for the general public. Increase in prices of edible commodities inevitably contributes greatly towards the overall rise in the cost of living, which always ends up affecting those that don’t have much the worst.

PM Khan looks to be sincere in his attempt to curtail the increase; his statement of a government deserving the right to rule only if it can provide relief to the masses shows that his efforts are well-intentioned. But catchy sounds bites on their own are not sufficient.

Prices have reached all-time highs. While the ruling party’s old narrative of imports driving up prices was rational before they managed to stem the inflow of goods into the country, there are no answers for homegrown inflation either. Almost every staple item has witnessed an increase in price, leaving no room for substitution either.

The government’s team must pull up its socks on the inflation front. The Prime Minister is right in pointing out that the economic team is slacking, but what does ‘immediate relief’ even really mean? Any artificial attempts to keep prices down will be unsustainable and end up costing us in the long run.

The influence of hoarding in this price hike is still uncertain at this stage. The government believes that it has a major part to play. If that is really the case then the government has the power to allow for the public to afford necessities and improve the supply lines of food items in one go. Only indiscriminate action against hoarding and artificial price hikes will solve this current problem.

The time for indulging in the usual back and forth with the opposition over who is really responsible for this mess is the past. Previous governments have had their time, but now PTI has been in power for almost two years. With a significant portion of the term behind him, the Prime Minister must remember his electoral commitment of transforming Pakistan into a more developed, progressive and economically secure country. Two years, and the Madinah-e-Riyasat that was promised is nowhere to be seen.

The ruling party must take ownership and recognise its part in this consistent inflation. We were told hard decisions needed to be made in the short term, and belts would need to be tightened. Perhaps the government did not fully understand the extent of hardships the public would have to face. But we must see some improvement because the voters of PTI have supported the party through thick and thin.