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SAHIWAL: The PML-N Punjab leadership along with party legislators from Pakpattan district is ‘persuading’ the Pakistan Kisan Ittehad (PKI) to postpone its upcoming protest going to be held in front of Governor House on Sept 28.

Talking to Dawn by phone on Monday, PKI Punjab President Chaudhry Rizwan said the association was being asked through different channels to announce protest date after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Sept 30 march on Raiwind.

On the other hand, Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed said the government had met all major demands of the Kisan Ittehad and “there is no logic for gathering of farmers in Lahore”.

The minister said instead of taking to the street all matters must be resolved within the agriculture commission.

Dr. Farrukh said the farmers’ demands such as cut in Urea and fertiliser prices by reducing general sales tax, support price for different products, soft loans, subsidy on electricity and pesticides, had been met.

Govt wants PKI to hold march after PTI’s Raiwind show

A few days back, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had announced support to farmers march during a meeting with PKI Central President Khalid Mahmood Khokhar and Punjab chief Chaudhry Rizwan at Bilawal House, Karachi.

Rizwan claimed that Dr Farrukh Javed, MPA from Okara Yawar Zaman and MNA from Pakpattan Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar were asking for postponement of the protest. “But PKI will not postpone the march and hold it on the announced date.”

Mr Rizwan said PKI had published four-colour posters which were distributed across Punjab where the Ittehad had its organisational structure. The title of protest poster reads “Symbolic Janaza of agriculture”.

He said farmers would carry ‘agriculture’s Janaza’ from Faisal Chowk to Governor House and it would be taken to Parliament House, Islamabad, on Sept 29. “The Kisan Ittehad expects to gather 6,000-7,000 farmers in Lahore, excluding PPP workers.”

He said PPP Punjab President Manzoor Watoo, Shaukat Basra and Qamar Zaman Kaira were in constant liaison with the PKI leadership for the protest.

PPP Sahiwal former district president Zaki Chaudhry told this correspondent that they had received instructions from party high command to fully participate in the protest.

Rizwan said: “We are not going to hold rallies from different cities as farmers have been asked to gather in Lahore.”

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2016