While the federal government was not quick to act against rising prices of basic commodities like vegetables, pulses and wheat, a new promise was made by PM Imran Khan according to which the Corona Relief Tiger Force (CRTF) will be handed responsibilities to surveil, record and upload information regarding the prices of food items to the national portal. The intent behind this may be sincere but the opposition is right in pointing out that the CRTF is a body void of any legal standing and, as such, cannot issue directives or accost retailers looking for answers and justifications.

The Tiger Force, consisting of over one million volunteers, was created by the government for the purpose of the implementation of and adherence to the standard behavioural practices that limit the transmission of the virus. As such, as a purely voluntary body, lawmakers are in agreement that it has no legal sanction to assume the tasks assigned to the district administration and officials with magisterial powers. Allowing them to do so would entail that they are acting on behalf of the state, and government authorities. Had the CRTF been given lawful authority, through instituting an ordinance, then the matter would have been entirely different as there would have been no cause for concern. But even if that was the case, they do not possess the necessary training that would be required to exercise power judiciously.

It is also important to note that the government has adequate manpower, as well as the apparatus, to take on the responsibility of oversight. Additionally, they are well within their bounds to ask for justifications regarding inflating prices of essential products, demand transparency and enforce accountability. This privilege is not extended to the CRTF, which can instead choose to help individuals and maintain momentum over the reporting of such worries on their own account as citizens, not affiliated with the state. In this way, they can act as advocates for those who suffer at the hands of corporate mismanagement and greed in a constructive but non-intrusive manner.