SWABI: The leaders of tobacco growers, who were released from Haripur Central Jail two days ago, demanded here on Monday legal action against the companies for inflicting huge financial losses on growers by failing to buy their announced tobacco quota.

They were addressing a meeting of farmers, who had gathered here to celebrate their release from jail.

Liaqat Yousafzai, central president of Tobacco Growers Association Pakistan, Arif Ali Khan, president of Ittehad Kashtkaran, and two other leaders, Mohammad Dagiwal and Inayat Ali Shah Bacha were sent to jail under Maintenance of Public Order in the first week of November.

On this occasion, Inyat Ali Bacha said they expected the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government to protect the interests of the small growers, but it had failed to do so. “The current year is the worst year for the poor growers as the government toed the policy of the purchasing companies,” he said.

Addressing the growers, Arif Ali said exploitation of growers by multinational and national companies won’t be allowed at any cost.

The grower leaders said according to their information there were still 800,000 kilogrammes of tobacco lying with the growers.

The growers also constituted a central organising committee to run a month-long campaign across the tobacco growing regions of the province to solicit their suggestions on how to stop their exploitation at the hands of purchasing companies. They said the campaign would culminate into a farmers’ convention in Swabi on Dec 20 to announce a future line of action.

Arif Ali Khan was nominated president and Liaqat Yousafzai general secretary of the committee, which also includes leaders from all tobacco growing districts.

FIVE ARRESTED: The police on Monday arrested five people and recovered a Kalashnikov, a rifle and a pistol along with several rounds from them for resorting to firing in Kalu Khan area.

SHO Kalu Khan police station Fayyaz Khan said members of the two groups traded fire over an old enmity, which created panic among people of the area.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2021

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