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Shorter Working Hours, Rampant Inflation – That’s Ramadan in Pakistan!

The auspicious month of Ramadan, a month of perseverance and blessings, is celebrated with fervor and passion by Muslims. Muslims observe fasting and bow down in prayer before God, practice self-discipline and rid themselves of all bad habits that they have in the other eleven months. This month calls for a complete change in the lifestyles of all people, whether they observe fasts or not.

During this month, work timings are reduced and pulled back by an hour, so that people get off and go to their homes early to prepare for Iftar and prayers. Due to a majority of the people observing a fast, the amount of work in offices and industries is at a minimum, as many people stay up after Sehri, which makes them lethargic and unable to concentrate on work. Adding to this, the extreme heat in many areas of Pakistan makes people become agitated and tired.

Before the advent of Ramadan every year, prices of all essential commodities are reduced to a substantial amount by governments in all Islamic and non-Islamic countries. The same happens in Pakistan every year, where the government introduces a price control plan, which is sadly not followed by any merchant in the country. They see Ramadan as a golden opportunity to increase prices of all the products which are heavily consumed in this month and earn such huge profits which they normally earn in 2 or 3 months combined.

For the common man, who has for common men who are working on a low salaried job which does not pay well enough, due to commercialism Ramadan became burden. Rather than receiving blessings, he receives the challenge of being able to empty his pockets every day on Sehri and Iftar for his family. With the price hike in basic commodities, his mind is transfixed on these issues rather than observing the true nature of Ramadan.

It would be unfair to neglect the working women in this regard, who have to go through much tougher ordeals during the month of Ramadan. Their day starts very early, as they wake up at midnight to prepare Sehri for their families, and then observe fasting themselves. They hardly get to sleep, as they leave for work at around 7 or 8 AM. After a long and hectic day at work, they return to their homes only to begin preparations for Iftar. During this time, the men are back home and sleeping peacefully. They wake up only an hour before Iftar, whereas women do not get any rest from their hectic schedule.

Soon after they open their fast, they have to make up dinner too, since Pakistanis do not deviate from their eating habits even in Ramadan. This strenuous exercise makes up for at least 18-20 hours of their day, which leaves hardly any time for rest and relaxation. On top of all this, the menace of such expensive necessities makes them forget that Ramadan is a month of sanctification. Since they cannot do without buying all these things, they have to afford it somehow or the other.

Ramadan may be a month of blessings and fasting, but the negligence of the government in reducing inflation, and their failure in controlling prices of basic commodities makes it more and more futile with each New Year. With the prices on the rise, it is clear to see that the government has no interest in the welfare of their people, and does not work diligently to ensure that the people get some form of relief in this holy month.

It is true that they devise price control plans and try to implement them, but there is absolutely no check and balance on the merchants and shopkeepers to see whether they follow the new regulations or not. Even the general public is not aware of the steps taken by the government, which enables shopkeepers to collect humongous profits from sales in Ramadan.

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