Ramzan is the blessed month of self-purification which teaches us to be patient, sacrifice for our Muslim brothers and sisters and spread love amongst them whole heartedly. As Maulana Rumi has rightly defined that the love is all kindness and generosity.

 This month teaches us to be kind and help others who are not so privileged. Fasting throughout the whole month is one of the five pillars of Islam. Government should provide its people with the best of facilities to make them spend this month without any fear and with great religious harmony and peace as the creature surrenders towards its Creator. It has been often observed that when the great administration and strategists amalgamate with sincere leadership, the fate of its people is changed.

As it is known, government provides subsidies for the welfare of the general public. Subsidization means that there exists a government that cares about its people. It is usually defined as money that is paid by a government to keep the price of a product or service low. Subsidy is one way thing which is meant for social and economic benefits towards its citizens and eventually going to share the burden of the unprivileged segment of the society.

Therefore, the government of Punjab has done the same in many sectors such as education, health, agriculture, Metro bus service etc. The people of Punjab are fortunate enough to have the most considerate and sympathetic leadership. The seemingly impossible projects have come into reality and affordable for the public due to provision of subsidy by the government of Punjab.

In this regard, Chief Minister Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif has already announced 50% subsidy for the “Promotion of agriculture mechanization in Punjab”, Rs. 178 billion have been subsidized for electricity on the consumption of 200 units, Rs.13 per kg for sugar exports, Rs. 14 billion for Punjab Education endowment fund which makes it the biggest fund ever allocated in South Asia in the education sector. The list goes on as subsidies worth billions in health sector have also been allocated by the government.

However, the Punjab Government has formally announced the “Ramzan Package” earlier this month. According to which, edible items are to be provided to the common men at economical rates as compared to market rates. The Punjab government has yet again fulfilled its promise of providing basic facilities to unprivileged segment of the society with the subsidy of five billion rupees during the holy month of Ramzan. 330 Ramzan Bazaars are held every day since June 3 at district level throughout the province.

Chief Minister of Punjab has tried to leave no stone unturned for the public welfare and urged the public representatives as well as the administrators to play a proactive role for providing quality essential items to the people at reasonable prices. Chief Minister, Shehbaz has never compromised on the quality. He has strictly directed the Price Control Committees to perform their duties diligently and responsibly towards ensuring due quality and prices of the items of daily use across the province.

In addition to that, 2,000 Madni Dastarkhawan have also been set up throughout the province in addition to 25 model Ramazan bazaars. Rice, sugar, ghee, chicken, fruits, vegetables, eggs and other edible and basic items have been made available for the people at concessionary rates in Ramzan bazaars. For that matter, the government deserves great admiration for this beautiful concept. They tend to firmly believe in “sharing is caring”.

Happiness is enhanced when it’s shared and Ramzan is that month when every Muslim wishes to help its brothers. Ramzaan bazars are bringing joy on the tables of our underprivileged brothers. Let us take a flour bag for example; the 20 kg flour bag in the open market is available at Rs. 620. While 10kg of flour bag is available at Rs. 290 at the special bazaars and Rs 310 in the open market under this Year’s Ramzan package.

The government of Punjab has also empowered price control committees to take strict action against those involved in overcharging. Special powers have also been delegated to Price Control Magistrates in this regard. This has to be another effort made by Punjab government to ensure efficiency and transparency to provide every possible facility to the general public of this province.

The efficiency can as well be observed by stating the example of Ramadan Monitoring Report. According to which,  Price Control Magistrates has conducted around 6953 raids in 1646 markets and imposed a fine of more than Rs. 12.5 lakh for substandard quality and overcharging of consumer items. Price Control Magistrates also got 119 FIRs lodged while legal action has been taken at 1267 places for overcharging. 118 persons were also arrested. Maximum fine of 119600 rupees was recovered from district Rahim Yar Khan while lowest fine of Rs. 3000 each from Chakwal and Jhang. Raids were conducted on 1951 shops and other places for checking quality and quantity of daily use items. 145 persons were found violating the law. 85 cases of short weighing were also detected. All these are clear example of great work being done for humanity. Complaint cells have also been set up in all Ramzan bazaars where consumers can get redressed their complaints immediately.

That’s not just about it. CM Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif has taken personal interest and has also paid surprise visits to these Ramadan Bazaars in scotching heat just to ensure the proper functioning of these bazaars. He has issued strict orders to provide hygienic and cheap edibles in these bazaars.

Moreover, Green channel fair price stalls have been set up by Agriculture Department where high quality vegetables and fruits will be available at the rates fixed by the government.

In order to avoid mismanagement on the roads, efficient parking facility has been provided in Ramzan and model bazaars and duties have been assigned to traffic police officers and officials for keeping the flow of traffic smooth.

These markets have proved very helpful in combating inflation. These Ramzan bazaars have enabled the poor segment of the society to equally cherish the blessed month of Ramzan.

These markets have proved very helpful in combating inflation last year too. These Ramzan bazaars have enabled the poor segment of the society to equally cherish the blessed month of Ramzan. This time the government is working on broader scale with great zeal. The utility of this project and benefits towards the public have been phenomenal and encouraging.

To conclude, Ramzan is much more than throwing gift hampers on the public. It’s rather an opportunity to come forward and help those who are not fortunate enough and have fewer resources. Let’s help each other rise and spread nothing but Love and Compassion.

While the government has done well to provide relief to the common man through provision of eatables on subsidized rates across the province and direct supervision of the Chief Minister is certainly helpful in regulating the prices, what is important is that our shopkeepers and traders also feel the moral responsibility. It is alright to earn profit on your business but there is a huge difference between rightful earning and profiteering. The month of fasting is not just about going thirsty and hungry; it is also about imbibing the values of compassion and sacrifice and sharing the miseries of less privileged sections of society. Unless all of us play our role in creating an egalitarian society, mere governmental enforcement can only achieve limited results.

“Surely, fasting does not just mean to abstain from eating or drinking. It means refraining from bad deeds and bad speech, too. There are few people who are truly fasting, but many who are hungry.”

-         Prophet Muhammad (SAWW)