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Protest sit-in at Bakrabad ends; protesters’ online meeting with chief secretary promised

CHITRAL: A protest sit-in was staged at Bakrabad against the unprecedented increase in the price of wheat and calling upon the government to restore the old price without further delay.

The Chitral road was blocked by the protesters for hours.

In the late evening, the DC Chitral and commandant Chitral Scouts met the protesters. After negotiations, the DC promised that an online meeting of the pritesters will be arranged with the chief secretary on Tuesday at 10am and work to supply wheat to Chitral at subsidized rate would be expedited.

The DC Lower Chitral told the protesters that a notification suspending supply of wheat to millers would be issued today.

Moreover, the first point of the welcome address to the prime minister during his expected visit to the Shandur festival will be the issue of wheat in Chitral. 

A few months back, the government jacked up the wheat price from Rs6,000 per 100 kg to Rs11,500 per 100 kg. Earlier, the government supplied wheat to its godowns and sale points across Chitral at the rate of Punjab as it paid its transportation cost.

But now the government has passed on the transportation cost to the consumers, hence the rise in the wheat price.

Since the increase in the price, people of Chitral have been holding protests but without any positive result.

At a separate public meeting in Booni today, the proposal to block the Shandur road before the annual festival there was not seconded.

The PML-N representatives told the participants that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was expected to be the chief guest at the inaugural or concluding day of the festival.

In that case, they added, it would be a good opportunity to meet the prime minister as a delegation and take up the wheat issue with him.

In case there was no positive outcome, the Shandur road could be blocked for all those returning from the mega event.

Moreover, people of Chitral would continue their protest campaign till the acceptance of their demand.

The speakers on the occasion said the current price of wheat was not acceptable at all costs as it was out of the reach of the people of Chitral who have already been hit hard by the record-brraking inflation.

The public gathering was chaired by former MPA Syed Sardar Hussain while ex-police officer Muhammad Saeed Khan was the chief guest. 

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