The Toba-Toba (not Tauba Tauba!) Tomato Conundrum in Pakistan

Last updated on Feb 24, 2019

Posted on Feb 23, 2019

Richard Clarke once remarked that Pakistanis are “pathological liars.”  Even they don’t know when they lie.  He forgot to mention about their habit of habitual lying with a narrative so outrageous that even they would have a tough time believing only if their IQ was somewhat better.

Now comes this strange guy whom will forever be known as the Toba Toba guy!

The guy has three points to make – One, that India has banned the export of tomatoes to Pakistan, Two, If you stop Tomatoes, India, we will throw an Atom bomb, which we have not made for our drawing room.  And three, Indians should be afraid.

And, all this with that strange chanting of “Toba-Toba”.  It is generally pronounced as “Tauba”accompanied with the gesture is to ask for forgiveness, for something “sinful”.  But, in this rather strange speech – one there was no such connotation with that utterance and it was used as a proxy for gap between two words.  When the guy was thinking (so not speaking) or couldn’t find the right word, he would use the generic placeholder TOBA.  He will always be remembered as the “Toba-Toba guy” in the annals of human history.  No one has or can ever destroy this word, its pronunciation, its use, its meaning and its proliferation as much as this one man alone.  Often in old movies, old women (mostly Urdu speaking Muslim ones) would use it while gossiping, which looked funny.  But this dude took it to a whole new level!

Now let us – in the passing – look at his pet peeves.  He may be obsessed with “Toba Toba” but he still has “human rights”.  So let us be nice to him and let him know the truth.

First, India has not banned the exports of tomatoes to Pakistan.  Only a handful of farmers in Madhya Pradesh have said that they will no longer export to Pakistan.  In fact, Pakistan had banned it earlier over the years as well.  In September 2017, Pakistan had stopped the import of tomatoes as the prices had soared to PKR 300/kg

Pakistan will not import tomatoes from India though its price has shot up to 300 Pakistani rupees (PKR) per kg in parts of the country, Minister for Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan has said, amidst a chill in bilateral ties.

This continued into 2018.  Or so it seemed.  The Azadpur Mandi in Delhi was daily sending around 100 trucks of tomatoes to Pakistan.  They were obviously going somewhere.

Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi, India’s largest wholesale market for agriculture produce, also exports a large amount of vegetables to Pakistan. According to Tomato Trade Association’s president Ashok Kaushik, the market sends 75-100 trucks of tomatoes to Pakistan.

But a lady in Pakistan’s Samaa TV shows a “Patron-in-Chief” (whatever the heck that means!) of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Importers Association Waheed Ahmed says

“India’s claim of suspending tomato export to Pakistan is baseless. Not only Pakistan but the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait had also put a ban on vegetables coming from India due to the Nipah virus,”

So tomatoes go off in trucks from Azadpur Mandi via Wagah, but even though they go there, they are not allowed in Pakistan.  And this has been going on.  Interesting.

And, amidst the bravado of the Pakistani anchors and the strangely titled Patron-in-Chief of Fruits and Veggie Association, where the say Indian tomatoes are not allowed in India, and no issue has happened due to the “Indian ban on tomatoes” (no such ban) – the prices of Tomatoes have soared in Lahore.

The Mystery Tomato

Here is a strange situation.  While India has not banned tomatoes, only a few farmers in one state have apparently decided to not send their produce to Pakistan, Pakistan is shouting about an “Indian tomatoes ban”, which is not there.  And then, in an attempt to insult India, their so-called experts are saying that the tomatoes have been banned since 2016 – after Uri – because Indian tomatoes had some diseases.

And, even though Pakistan is not importing any Indian tomatoes – because they have diseases, the prices of tomatoes in Lahore are soaring to almost PKR 200/kg.

How is that for a mystery?  Thing that you don’t allow, its alleged “non-stoppage” is raising the prices.  The Toba-Toba (not Tauba Tauba!) guy’s rant has gone viral and he has opened a pandora’s box!

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