LAHORE: Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court on Thursday sought a reply within two weeks from the Punjab government on an application challenging the undue increase in prices of fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes.Judicial Activism Penal (JAP) Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique had filed this application in his already pending petition against the increase in prices of essential commodities. He submitted that that every government was duty bound to work for the welfare and protection of public and ensure the supply of food and vegetables at reasonable prices. He asserted that unfortunately the incumbent federal, provincial and city district governments were just trying to protect their party leader and in this regard they were repealing laws day by day. He said that due to bad governance of the government, the prices of fruits, vegetables and other edible items had been rapidly increasing. He pleaded that the provincial government had miserably failed to regulate the prices of essential commodities. He said that it was the responsibility of both the governments and the price control authority to maintain or control prices of vegetables, especially tomatoes, to that extent that they commodities were in the reach of the common man. He submitted that there was no justification for the increase in the price of tomatoes at such an unreasonable pace. He submitted that the provincial government had badly failed to control and regulate the price mechanism, and had done nothing against hoarding, which leads to excessive profiteering. He said that it was an act of exploitation under Article 3 of the constitution. He requested that the government and authorities concerned should be directed to take coercive as well as penal action against the hoarders, stockers and profiteers involved in the sale of commodities, especially vegetables, at high rates. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.