LAHORE: “The nation will not allow the government to develop love bound with New Delhi at cost of the Kashmiri blood and plight of Pakistani farmers,” warned Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq on Thursday.

Addressing a JI Kissan delegation, which called on him at Mansoorah, he warned the government against building trade with India. He asked the government to withdraw GST, decrease the prices of fertilizers and provide electricity to farmers at promised rate of Rs5.85 per unit.

The government, he said, should ensure interest-free loans for growers and livestock farmers. The government, he said, must end mark up in the light of the Federal Shariah Court decision in all sectors. The farmers were unable to compete with the Indian farmers in prevailing circumstances when they were provided costly seed, water and other agricultural inputs. It was tantamount to destroying the economy of Pakistani growers in case Islamabad allowed the import of vegetables and other food items from India, he said, adding that the issue of trade with India was even more ideological than the financial one as the Pakistani nation was not ready to build ties with India until the settlement of Kashmir issue according to the wishes of the people of the India-held area. The BJP government, he said, must stop human rights abuses and allow Kashmiris to exercise their free will as per the UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue.

Over 65 per cent of the country’s population is linked to agriculture, but the governments had done nothing for bringing improvement in the lives of small farmers and the agriculture sector, he said, adding that the JI if voted to power will introduce land reforms, construct roads, hospitals and schools in a rural area and build infrastructure to link farms with markets. The JI would also distribute government lands to agriculture graduates, he added.

Apart from climate change, the government’s negligence to build dams and bad governance and water theft issues were also reasons behind the water shortage problems, he said, asking the government to take immediate measure to resolve the issue permanently.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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