The prices of milk have soared to an unprecedented extent in Pakistan on the occasion of Muharram. There has almost been a 49% rise in the price. Currently, a Pakistani consumer is being forced to shell out Rs.140 for a litre of milk as against the retail price of Rs.94 per litre. On Wednesday, the Pakistani media reported that milk was being sold for as high as Rs.140 per litre in Karachi and some parts of the Sindh Province.
Muharram is one of the most sacred months of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is observed by the Muslims who mourn the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala in the 7th century. During this period, Sabeels (stalls) are set up in different parts of Pakistan to offer milk, juices and cold water to the people who participate in the Muharram processions. This is considered as the main reason for the rise in demand for milk, thereby leading to price escalation. The retailers are reportedly profiteering in the present situation.
In Pakistan, petrol was selling at Rs.113 per litre and diesel at Rs.91 per litre till two days ago. Thus, both are now cheaper than milk.
"Milk is being sold between Rs 120 and Rs 140 across the city of Karachi due to the sharp increase in demand," a shopkeeper talked to the media. "We set up milk Sabeel every year and simply didn't want to skip it this year due to a hike in milk prices," said one person who set up a stall.
A Pakistani media report suggested that as the retailers are purchasing milk at a high price from wholesalers and dairy farmers, they are selling it at a high price. Similarly, the dairy farmers and wholesalers sell milk at a high price because of the increase in the price of their inputs. According to them, the Pakistan government had not allowed any increase in milk prices for a long time. Dr. Khatu Mal Jeevan, a Special Assistant to the Chief Minister of the Sindh province, has called a meeting on September 13 at the Karachi commissioner’s office to review the matter. Along with the commissioner, all deputy commissioners, additional inspectors general of police, representatives of dairy farmers and other stakeholders would be present at the meeting.
Last month, the prices of rotis and naans witnessed a considerable increase. After the increase in gas tariff and wheat flour, the price of naan started selling at Rs.12 to Rs.15. On the other hand, the price of roti also increased by three to four rupees. On July 30, Pakistan's cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to rollback the prices after taking note of the uproar among the public.