PPP warns govt of backlash from farmers

Monday, May 26, 2014

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LAHORE: PPP Punjab President Main Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has criticised the Punjab government for pursuing anti-farmer, anti-agriculture and anti-rural policies.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Wattoo predicted backlash from farmers throughout the country against the government policies if it failed to address their grievances soon.

He observed that his caution must be taken very seriously, adding that the recent meeting of the farmers representatives bodies in Lahore, including Farmers Association of Pakistan and Pakistan Kissan Movement, undoubtedly had given credence to his warning.

He said that the PPP supported the charter of demands of the representative organisations of the farmers and the party would not lag behind in the struggle in forcing the government to accept their demands. He said the farmers of Pakistan were being denied the fruits of their blood and toil owing to the wrong policies of the government. He pointed out that farmers of Pakistan were working under the harsh environment caused by the apathy of the government while farmers of other countries of the region were benefiting from the generous subsidies from their respective governments.

Pakistani farmers face the brunt of expensive inputs as compared to their counterparts in India, BD, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan, he added.

He pointed out that the ban on the inter-provincial movement of wheat was another manifestation of anti- farmer policy of this government as it was hurting the farmers of Punjab. He demanded that the ban must be lifted forthwith because it was benefitting the hoarders and the middleman at the cost of poor farmers who had to sell the commodity at lower rates to meet their pressing financial needs. He said the focus of the Punjab government was on the selective development of Lahore, adding that this discriminatory development strategy was both counter-productive and self-defeating and injurious to harmonious relations among the people of this province.

He said the latest Expressway Metro Train project costing more than 1.6 billion dollars was not only devoid of the narrative of equitable development but would also, on completion, submerge the rich cultural heritage of Lahore under bridges and concrete ruing the aesthetic beauty of the metropolis.

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