LAHORE: As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government gears up to showcase its 100-day performance before the nation, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to protest against the government, for adopting anti-farmer policies.
The decision to launch a movement against the PTI government was taken by PPP Punjab on Tuesday in view of the existing sugar industry crisis and impending wheat crisis.
The movement is said to start from central Punjab and later spread out to other sugar cane growing areas of Punjab. The first protest rally would be held in Chiniot, which would be led by senior leader Qamar Zaman Qaira.
According to party leaders, since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) “has always been pro- industrialist and anti-farmer”, so they would not ask or request it to join them.
PPP Punjab parliamentary leader Hasan Murtaza said the decision has been accorded approval from the central leadership. “PPP has always been a party of labourers, farmers and underprivileged so it is our responsibility to raise voice for them,” he said adding the government has failed to assess the gravity of the situation.
Murtaza further said the sugar cane harvest season has already been delayed by almost a month and the longer sugar cane remains in the field, the higher the cost gets for farmers which they would not be able to reimburse given the fixed price. He said bad policies have put millions of livelihood at stake.
“Soon there would be more issues if this crisis is not addressed,” said the PPP leader adding farmers cannot harvest sugar cane till the crushing season starts, so the time to harvest wheat was running out. “Wheat at max can be sowed by the last week of December, after which it would not possible,” he said, warning if that happens, we would be heading towards a wheat crisis as well.
Murtaza assured the Chiniot rally would not be a one-off thing and the protests will expand to other parts of Punjab. “We will announce the next venue during the Chiniot rally,” he said, lamenting the current agriculture issue is not limited to the sugar industry as prices of urea, fertiliser and diesel have also increased, putting more burden on farmers.