Pakistan is going through severe economic hardship. The economic crisis has translated into a food crisis with ‘flour’ – a staple part of most diets facing an extreme shortage in supply. The repercussions have been dire as people are fighting, often resorting to violence to gain hold of a few mounds of the prized commodity. 

Videos of Pakistani residents from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan battling to acquire bags of flour have now gone viral on social media platforms. The three provinces have been facing acute food shortages ever since last year’s deadly flood. 

The people in the video can be seen snatching the flour bag from each other while engaging in a violent tussle. Meanwhile, in other clips, the residents can be seen chasing the truck supplying the subsidised flour. 

Local media reports state that thousands of people have to spend hours daily to receive the subsidised bag of flour.

Flour prices have touched an exorbitant high amid the crunch. In Karachi, flour is being sold at Rs 160 per kilogramme. Meanwhile, a bag of flour can easily fetch as much as Rs 1500 to 1600 per kg in Islamabad and Peshawar. 

Such is the state of the economy that Islamabad is unable to provide basic amenities to a common Pakistani citizen.

Notably, people are being forced to store LPG (cooking gas) in plastic balloons and bags as the government fails to address the shortage in supply.

In the videos that have gone viral on different social media platforms, citizens in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province can be seen storing cooking gas in plastic bags due to shortage. 

To arrest the slide, the Pakistani government has proposed to close markets and wedding halls by 8:30 PM and 10 PM respectively to keep the rising debt in check. 

The radical changes by the government also include a plan to halt the production of fans and incandescent bulbs. 

Pakistan’s fiscal deficit stood at 1.5 per cent of GDP from July-October 2022-23. The country’s foreign exchange reserves plummeted to its lowest since April 2014 last month when it shrank by $294 million to $5.8 billion, primarily due to external debt repayment. 

(With inputs from agencies)




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