LAHORE: Farmers hold a protest demonstration against the government’s agriculture policies, on Sunday. Farmers, particularly in Punjab, have been expressing their anger for weeks over the government’s reluctance to procure wheat at the officially announced price.—M. Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Farmers hold a protest demonstration against the government’s agriculture policies, on Sunday. Farmers, particularly in Punjab, have been expressing their anger for weeks over the government’s reluctance to procure wheat at the officially announced price.—M. Arif/White Star

LAHORE: The Pakis­tan Markazi Muslim League (PMML) on Sunday warned of nationwide protests if the demands of wheat growers are not met, condemning the mistreatment of the farming community.

PMML leader Khalid Masood Sindhu, while addressing a protest demonstration outside the press club, said that farmers were being economically murdered by not ensuring the sale of wheat at the officially fixed rate of Rs3,900 per 40kg.

Farmers joined the protest in large numbers as the participants raised slogans against the official ‘anti-farmer’ policies and sought an end to the ill-treatment of the agriculturists.

The protesters were carrying placards inscribed with different slogans, criticising the anti-farmer policies of the government.

He emphasised that the abuse of the farming community would not be tolerated and threatened country-wide protests if the demand of the wheat growers was not accepted.

General secretary Saifullah Khalid stressed that the legitimate rights of farmers must be acknowledged.

Chaudhry Sarwar expressed regret that the government imported 3.5 million tonnes of grain in contrast to the official decision of one million tonnes, and now the government was reluctant to buy wheat from local farmers.

Other speakers deman­ded that the government immediately announce the purchase of all wheat at the official rate, punish those responsible for importing wheat severely, and provide immediate relief to the farming community.

They also called for the formulation of a permanent policy for the agriculture sector, ensuring fixed rates for seeds, DAP and Urea composts, water, electricity, and diesel.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2024

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