The Punjab Government’s creativity and wisdom has tackled some great issues recently – some quite crucial too; the samosa and the ostrich for example. Stuck at home without electricity and water for hours and hours, there seems to be no solace for Punjab residents – especially not after the two recent developments that have probably added manifolds to the ongoing misery. Much to our dismay, it has been decided that the ostrich is no longer classified as a bird and samosas will no longer be a cheap snack.
I am sure if given a chance, the Sindh government would like to make such important decisions and announcements as well – however, between the law and order situation and calling for the Ajrak and Topi day – it hasn’t been able to get down to the stuff that really matters – ostriches and samosas.
Coming back to Punjab and before jumping into the frying pan, a minute here for the poor ostrich that was voted upon by the Punjab Assembly as NOT being a bird anymore and instead being classified as an animal. This move will now facilitate the import, farming and slaughter of ostriches for their meat – Punjabis already have such a diverse and rich cuisine, did ostrich meat really needed to be added to the list?
And speaking of cuisine, forget about taxing the elite or taking action on the food hoarders who can actually make a difference to the economy and food availability, the provincial government knew the devil is in the details and therefore in 2009 the Lahore local government had fixed the price of the samosa at Rs.6 per piece. The authorities had also taken action against some shopkeepers found to be selling more expensive samosas – if only action was also promptly taken against criminals as well but perhaps that may not be as urgent since samosa parties are more common to the general public than say, thefts…
But it seems as if the Supreme Court had even better intentions for the Punjabis at heart, when it decided to set aside this notification regarding the price control. Now why would the Supreme Court actually take the time out for the samosa ruling is anybody’s guess. Was the Supreme Court worried about Punjab’s nutrition? Perhaps – one could go overboard consuming those deep-fried triangles if set at such a cheap price! Or was it so tired of the monotonous prime minister rulings, that it needed to spice things up a bit? I got some further insight into the matter after reading the discussion on this pertaining resolution… but it was rather sad to read the comment that stated: “Samosa makers who got heard by the judiciary are luckier than Pakistani Shia Muslims who are facing genocide but go unnoticed by the hyperactive suo moto judiciary.”
And sensible were the comments that suggested letting the market control prices of such basic commodities: “Tomorrow they will fix the price of jelabis. Demand and supply should decide the price. Higher courts should fix higher problems such as corruption, killings, rapes, theft, fraud etc.”
One may not expect the Punjab Government to work in the interest of the masses anymore, but there remains a tiny ray of hope when it comes to the judiciary. One hopes that between the madness and monotony of the Swiss letter cases, our judiciary will eventually realise that there are families and institutions and individuals all waiting for justice. The day all minorities are safe in Pakistan and all missing people have returned, the judiciary is free to fiddle around with snack prices. The day all street criminals are behind bars along with all corrupt government officials, the Supreme Court can mingle with the bakers of Lahore but until then, it needs to think about what matters more and prioritise its time and rulings accordingly.
As for the Punjab Government – they can continue pondering over the animal classification chart and voting upon what should be in their plates next.
The writer is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com