Inflation is not just driving people into poverty, but it is also driving the poor into beggary. This is the obvious conclusion reached by the Voice of America, in a recent report, but it has backed this by a concrete example. The conclusion is perhaps self-evident, but the inflation ravaging Pakistan is showing no signs of letting up. Added to the recent price increases of petroleum products, has been the increase in electricity tariffs, and with another increase, the retail sugar price has reached Rs 92 per kg. Though blamed on the recent monsoon floods, the sugar price hike merely reflects the greed of the sugar mill owners, who have raised the price to make extraordinary profits, while exploiting their positions as members of the legislatures. Even this influence could not prevent the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet from taking note of the price of sugar in its meeting on Thursday, though it was enough to prevent the ECC from taking any action beyond the release of 600,000 tonnes to the utility stores. The Cabinet does not seem concerned enough about inflation to take the action needed to bring inflation below the 22 percent that the State Bank has said it has run at last year. While the inflation has been terrible enough, it is not an isolated event. Inflation has been raging for several years, and purchasing power has been eroded almost to vanishing point. Even then, with the rich-poor gap increasing, with those falling into poverty increasing, and those poor becoming desperate enough to turn to begging, those with the power to exploit, like the sugar millers, have not only not desisted but have redoubled their efforts to make ever higher profits. One of the driving forces has been the system; and it is for the government to place the appropriate controls on it. The government must change its commitment from its blind following of international lending agencies and the policies given by them of ever higher taxation, and newer and newer taxes, and make itself more people-friendly. Without that, it will not end the inflation crippling the people.