Stampedes across Pakistan as flour shortage intensifies

A 40-year-old labourer, Harsingh Kolhi, father of seven, fell on the road during the hustle and was instantly trampled upon by the surrounding people.

New Delhi: The absolute disarray in the sale of the Pakistan Sindh government’s subsidised flour to the people resulted in the death of a man, a father of seven, in Mirpurkhas district during a stampede.

The death occurred near the commissioner’s office where two mini-trucks carrying 200 bags each were selling flour outside Gulistan-e-Baldia Park, The Express Tribune reported.

The mini-trucks were selling flour bags of 10-kg each at the rate of Rs 65 per kg. People had gathered around the vehicles in a disorganised way, pushing each other to grab the bag before the others.

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According to police, 40-year-old labourer Harsingh Kolhi fell on the road during the hustle and was instantly trampled upon by the surrounding people, The Express Tribune reported.

What triggered the stampede is still not known.

Kolhi’s family staged a sit-in outside the Mirpurkhas Press Club for five hours, demanding action against the officials of the food department.

They dispersed after the police assured them of taking action against those responsible for the mishap.

The incident’s FIR has not been lodged so far.

Similar scenes of chaos were witnessed in all parts of Sindh where flour was being sold through mini-trucks or vans.

Separately, three females, including a minor girl, suffered injuries while being crushed under the feet of a crowd when a stampede broke out outside a flour mill in Shaheed Benazirabad’s (formerly Nawabshah) Sakrand town while buying cheap flour at the government rate, Express Tribune reported.

The prices of wheat and flour have hit unprecedented levels amid the ongoing crisis.

After an uptick of Pakistan Rs 20, flour in Karachi is being sold from Rs 140 per kg to Rs 160 per kg. In Islamabad and Peshawar, a 10-kg bag of flour is being sold at Rs 1,500 per kg. In Quetta, a 20-kg bag of flour is being sold at Rs 2,800.

Meanwhile, Balochistan’s Minister for Food Zamarak Achakzai also made a startling revelation, stating that the wheat stock in the province had “completely ended”, and noted that the crisis for the commodity in the province was “intensifying”, The Express Tribune reported.

Addressing a news conference on the issue, the provincial minister maintained that Balochistan had not received the required stock of wheat.

“Out of 200,000 sacks of wheat, 10,000 sacks have been received,” he said, noting that they had requested Punjab province Chief Minister to send 600,000 sacks.

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