Inflation-dampened festival


The arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of holy month of fasting, is usually a time of great excitement and joy for Muslims all over the world. However, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other provinces of Pakistan, the atmosphere has been overshadowed by the high prices and soaring inflation that have made it difficult for people to celebrate the occasion with their traditional zeal and fervor. The prices of basic commodities such as sugar, flour, vegetables, meat and fruits have skyrocketed, leaving many households struggling to observe the holy month with the peace of mind it requires for purifying the body and the soul. As the Eid-ul-Fitr is around the corner and the shopping spree has reached its peak across the country, huge numbers of people visit bazaars and marketplaces to buy readymade garments, bangles, sweets and shoes. Of late, the prices of clothes, shoes and other accompaniments of Eid festival have also gone up, making it even harder for the people to buy new clothes for themselves and their families as is customary during Eid. Following special Eid discounts on most of locally made footwear and stitched clothes in Peshawar, the people from surrounding districts including Charsadda, Nowshera, Khyber, Kohat, Swabi, Mohmand and Bajaur are visiting famous bazaars like Qissakhwani, Shaheen bazaar, Meena bazaar, Kochi bazaar, Saddar bazaar and adjoining cloth markets to buy their favorite things. As we have reported on these pages, the high prices are keeping away the shoppers, leading to dampen their festival, which was hardly seen in the past. And all this is ascribed to inflation and high prices of commodities.
The inflation has been fueled by a number of factors, including the global economic slowdown, devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, the shortage of essential commodities and the repeated increases in petroleum and fuel prices, which in turn lead to price spiral across the board. The impact of the high prices and inflation has been felt most acutely by the poor and lower-middle-class families who are already struggling to provide for two time meal for their families. They have been forced to cut back on their Eid celebrations and reduce their spending on food, clothes, gifts and other related things and accessories. This has dampened the festive spirit and caused disappointment and frustration among the people. It is the responsibility of the government to take urgent measures to address the issue of high prices and inflation. This can be done by improving the supply chain of essential commodities, ensuring the availability of goods at affordable prices and implementing effective price control measures. In addition, the government should encourage businesses to invest in the country and create jobs, which will not only boost the economy but also provide employment opportunities for the people. This will reduce poverty and increase the purchasing power of the people, which in turn will help to control inflation.
It is the responsibility of the government to take urgent measures to address this issue and provide relief to the people. Only then can the people celebrate Eid with the joy and enthusiasm it deserves.