The government of Sindh has admitted that tonnes of wheat have rotted after years of being stored in government warehouses before being supplied to the flour mills. Earlier, the Sindh government’s representative was summoned by Sindh High Court for creating an artificial wheat shortage in the country because they did not supply it to mills for processing.
The confession came from the Secretary Food Sindh, Abdul Haleem Shaikh, who appeared before a bench of the SHC on Wednesday for a hearing of a case of wheat hoarding and smuggling.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Amjad Ali Sehto heard the petition against the flour crisis, wheat smuggling, and wheat hoarding.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that wheat smuggling is rampant and that there is no one to hold the provincial government accountable for it.
Justice Amjad Sehto remarked that the wheat that had been stored in the warehouses had gone bad and that the people’s tax money had been wasted.
The court asked Secretary Food about the steps that had been taken to prevent the theft and stockpiling of wheat, to which he responded that there is limited space in the government warehouses which is why some of the stock is kept in private warehouses. He also stated that “some portion of the wheat” gets spoiled due to the rains.
The court has adjourned the hearing until 10 March and is seeking a detailed reply on the production and smuggling of wheat and its storage and spoilage in warehouses.
The provincial government had released six-year-old spoiled wheat to the flour mills across the province earlier this week but the supply had been canceled after a leaked video revealed how rotten wheat is being supplied to mills.
The stocks were to be released to Karachi, Larkana, Shikarpur, Qambar Shahdadkot, Jacobabad, and Kashmore.