ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is all set to begin the first phase of its “tractor trolley march” on Friday (today) to extend its support to the country’s farmers who have been protesting over the alleged poor agricultural policies of the government.
In the first phase, the party has organised marches in Larkana division in Sindh and Okara city of Sahiwal division in Punjab. In the second phase, such marches would be expanded to other parts of the country from Jan 24.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah will lead the protest in Larkana, whereas PPP Punjab president Raja Pervez Ashraf will lead the farmers’ rally in Okara.
In a video message to farmers, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that in the last three years, “this selected government” had damaged the country’s agricultural economy as much as it had damaged the entire economy.
Marches to be held in Larkana and Sahiwal divisions in first phase
The agriculture, he said, was the backbone of the country’s economy.
During the PPP era, he said, the country used to export wheat, rice and sugar after meeting domestic demand. However, the government was importing these commodities today, he regretted. He alleged that farmers had not been getting suitable prices of their crops since the PTI took power in 2018, whereas the input cost had increased manifold.
“Last season, our paddy crop was damaged due to lack of water. Now due to the urea fertiliser crisis, our wheat crop is getting damaged,” he said.
“This is the call of the PPP. We are starting protests from Jan 21 (today) from Larkana division and Sahiwal division. We will stand with our farmer brothers and protest with them. God willing, by Jan 24, the protest will spread across the country,” he said, adding that the PPP would hold farmer marches and tractor marches in every division.
Meanwhile, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, PPP information secretary and MNA Shazia Marri said the farmers were facing serious problems like unavailability of urea fertiliser and they had been protesting over the PTI government’s “anti-farmer policies”.
She claimed that a bag of urea fertiliser was being sold for up to Rs3,500 in the black market and the federal government was not providing any relief to farmers.
She said the PPP would hold rallies against the anti-farmer policies of the federal government. She said the PPP had raised this issue in the National Assembly, but the government’s response was “very ridiculous”.
Condemning the terrorist attack in Lahore, she said the PPP had faced direct terrorist attacks and heavily affected by it, “but we still stand firm against terrorism in the country”.
Ms Marri said the PPP chairman had a clear stance over the issues of terrorism and extremism. The PTI government should take stern action against terrorism and extremism, she said, adding that increasing terrorist attacks in the country was a sign of great danger and the federal government should bring this issue under discussion in the parliament.
She alleged that the PTI government was not giving a chance to the opposition parties to speak on the issues being faced by the people in the parliament. She said the National Security Policy could not be supported or opposed until it was presented in the parliament.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022