The numbers do not lie. Pakistan’s wheat crisis is not down to a shortfall in production; it is engineered price manipulation that is being orchestrated to profit illegally. How else does one explain the fact that our total production of wheat this year stood at an estimated 25-26 million tonnes, and yet somehow, we are unable to meet the 23-24 million tonnes required to fulfil demand?

Crackdowns have not worked, nor have the stern threats issued by the government. The ruling party has thus started work on an alternative; import wheat to fill up shelves and allow for consumers to buy this staple item.

1.5 million tonnes are to be imported from international buyers through both the public and private sectors, although costs relating to transportation and import might still make it difficult to meet the price levels mandated by the government. Hence, this would only target one half of the problem—supply might resume, but the public’s hope of a reduction in prices will remain unattainable for now.

There is no denying the fact that the supply of wheat needs to be urgently restored. Citizens in major cities such as Lahore have faced shortages since as far back as April. But controlling prices is also an aspect that currently stands ignored. Reports indicate that the price of wheat has gone up by over 90 percent since this government came into power. What is the ruling party doing on this front?

Price control is one of the basic economic principles that every government must uphold in order to ensure that the market does not exploit consumers unreservedly. Once the supply of wheat has been restored, the government must look to implement price controls through stricter crackdowns and ensuring greater transparency for retailers.