Gilgit - Baltistan

Flour crisis worsening in Hunza

People scuffling to get a flour bag in Karimabad

People scuffling for a flour bag in Karimabad, Hunza

Hunza, May 20: Like other parts of the country, flour crisis has intensified in Hunza as people are facing difficulties in getting a bag of flour from market even on the increased prices. According to market sources, the price of flour has hiked by 50 rupees per bag  within a week.  Wheat flour is available only at few shops and being sold as black at very high price. Bread is also sold at Rs. 10 in local Hotels.  

Due to worse situation in other parts of the country, people have also started storing flour in large number. This has further aggravated the bleak situation. Many people return empty handed as the stores fail to meet the demand. Long queues of the people can be seen outside the shops in Hunza for flour.

I saw a tractor with flour in Karimabad, where people started scuffling with each other to get a flour bag out of their turn.  People from Center Hunza and Nagar are smuggling wheat and flour from Gojal. (Zulfiqar)

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  1. Flour shortages in Hunza-putting things in perspective

    Thomas Malthus was a great English economist who saw the exponential growth in human population at the turn of the 19th century as a great threat to earth’s capacity to produce. In his seminal book ‘An essay on the Principles of Population’ he paints a very dark and pessimistic future for humanity if the exponential rate of growth in population remained steady over the next century. In the next hundred years the world saw unprecedented booms in human population, but no one saw a scramble for food. Generally speaking, 20th century was an age of great improvement in human livelihood, although poverty, hunger and deprivation remained side by side. However the Malthusian catastrophe never happened pleasantly surprising all the pessimists of the world.
    The 20th century saw breathtaking innovations in science and technology that also impacted food-production very favourable. Introduction of pesticides, improvements in traditional farming methods, efficiency and speed in the water distribution systems almost revolutionised modern agriculture. Even Pakistan during Ayub Khan’s government experienced an amazing transformation in patterns of agriculture which has been characterised as the ‘green revolution.’ It seemed Malthus was a prophet of darkness who couldn’t foresee the capacity of human ingenuity in sorting out their problems. Malthus was discredited and discarded from all intellectual points of view. Marxists saw him as ‘bourgeoisie apologist’ and others simply choose to forget and ignore him.
    But the apocalyptic ideas of Malthus now seem to be coming back with a vengeance to haunt an overly self-confident 21st century man. The current global resource crunch and insatiable demand from an ever-increasing human population has actually showed us the tip of ice berg. It seems that Malthusian ideas will see their redemption in not so a far a future. In a world of scarce resource which are being depleted very fast the contest for resources will be re-aligning friend and foe alike, thus resetting agendas of peace, war, and development.
    In a recent speech at the London School of Economics British Foreign Secretary David Milliband said the following ‘we face a new resource crunch, with spiralling energy and food prices as well as water shortages. Its consequences are not just economic and environmental, but geopolitical. We risk a struggle for resources, with each nation pitted against the other.’ This statement clearly suggests the looming struggle over resources which might well be the defining feature of nation-states.
    The point to take home for us living in Hunza and elsewhere in mountain societies is to make ourselves aware of the global dimensions of problems we are facing now such as the apparently local issue of flour shortages. In this age of globalisation, we should seek to understand and analyse issues faced by us in their proper perspective, so as to formulate proper policy responses and action.

    Best regards
    ali al-Hakim

  2. This situation takes me to history where Gojal provided wheat to Central Hunza. But a little difference is see. Previously wheat was supplied; and now flour is being smuggled. What is doing the Govt’s Civila Supply Dept? Are they slept or selling in black the wheat/flour? It is a pity, indeed.

  3. Musofir you are right that there is a confising distribution of the quota of wheat in govt dept. i have been to hunza and have seen that there is a smuggling of wheat from one part to other, in clear words there is a stealing of wheat.
    again here “JIS KI LATHI US KI BHENS” no one is there is to ask any one of doing ant injustice. people who are influencial are not in any problem . all the sufferings are for the common people.


  4. A really good and informative article written by ali al-Hakim.The concept of survival of the fittest and eugenics seem to dominate the world in the time to come.
    As I previously mentioned in one of the writings on poverty that the natural resources are being rapidly depleted by the anthropogen and the crucial hours are about to come.The human needs won’t be fulfilled if the population rate increases wth the same pace.
    Being part of a global community we must understand the burning issues and must think of some possibilites to cope up as to be on the safer side.
    We don’t have enough land to overcome the emergent needs and have no strong scietific and technological background to improve the agriculture sector and to enhance the capacity of production.
    Apart from what we discuss about the region,such matter also need a full attention as to ensure the real essense of prosperity and to combat with the problems of the time.

  5. finly Defined the local administration appearance by Musofir sahib and atisticaly crafted Article by ali al hakim about the current short fall in food supply.and upcoming hot water…
    Ghalib did his best to identify the crux of the mishapping ….it is understood resources are vanishing many fold a year that, though i have same opinion despit that, a little differs , i don’t see, if the resources are depleting in our part of world,what i smell is lack of planning, mismanagement, ill alocation of resources,poor strategy less utilization of manpower,lack of exploration of new resources,and many in series one can feel in our country.we have natural resources in abundan,still no heed paid to utilize them appropriatly and displeases every countrymen knowing that we are an agri country but the productivity is far less then other non agri countries,this mean we are still miles away from utilization of our resources due to defective management,our appearance is still in primary industry even not moved to industrial activities.this portrays that we are still affluent in resources.what lacks to me, is mismanagement not manging them accordingly, to met prime needs,and casting on our gignatic mountains! have we ever thought what sort of resources we have in hands ? and what kind of approach we have to make them use?
    so far we are still rich in resources. need to utilize them gracefuly.
    though it is a national feeling and issue.i appreciate the stance and move of PT for making such crucials topics public throgh this plate form.
    also, it need to bor in mind to be very careful in daily spendings….

  6. Thanks Ali al-Hakim and Aslam Ghalib for come up with the theoretical perspectives such as “survival of the fittest” or natural resources’ depletion and rapid population growth and the like.

    On the other hand, we also need to focus our attention on the practical side or the real world. According to reports by offcials, the Northern Areas has its own quota for the wheat and grains. In Islamabad, as per quotas, trucks/lorries of wheat/flour are desptached but sooner those trucks turn their direction towards the NWFP and are sent to Afghanistan. Thus, the people of the region are exploited. To what extent is this news true needs to be enquired and come towards the solutions. So, who’ll enquire such bad phenomena?

    Isn’t such tasks responsibility of the honest, strong, capable and determined poltical leaders/reps, media (print & electronic), lawyers and advocates, human rights reps and activists, othter CSOs and the like. Now to what extent are these groups present and effective is a big question mark? What are your views vis-a-vis such fundamental issues?

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