The federal government has failed to discharge its obligation to the public by submitting to the manipulative pressure of the sugar mill owners. To the shock of the frustrated nation, Minister Manzoor Wattoo actually tried to protect interests of the millers rather than the public and stamped his approval on the unjustified price hike in sugar. It has become a routine for sugar mill owners to hike up prices every Ramadan, just like the butchers and sheep breeders hike the price of mutton before Eid ul Azha. The unfortunate people of Pakistan thought that, perhaps, they would be rid of such callous attitude after ouster of the Musharraf junta and take over of the elected government. But to their utter shock, the same old sugar mill cartel prevailed. The message is loud and clear; indulge in plunder, let sky be the limit and then bribe your way out with the loot. In just over two months, the sugar mafia has made an estimated Rs 27 billions. Politics and common interests seem to dominate the governments' response to hoarding of sugar by the major sugar mills that are owned by key political families across the parliamentary divide as well as families of former generals and corrupt bureaucrats. Not a single mill owned by members of Sindh government, Punjab government, Pukhtunkhwa government or key players of the federal government has been raided so far. -RASHID ORAKZAI, Quetta, via e-mail, August 22.