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Pakistan Kissan Ittehad Calls for Nationwide Protests on May 10 Over Wheat Crisis

LAHORE: The Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) has announced that it will stage protests against the wheat crisis in Multan, starting from May 10. PKI Chairman Khalid Khokhar made the announcement while addressing a press conference in Lahore.

He accused a ‘mafia’ of benefiting from wheat smuggling and alleged that this was being supported by systemic corruption. Despite Pakistan’s possession of 4.4 million tons of wheat, Khokhar claimed that decisions regarding wheat were being made in bad faith.

Khokhar further alleged that despite the ample availability of wheat, imports were facilitated, resulting in a staggering outflow of one billion dollars in foreign exchange, purportedly benefiting the private sector. He emphasized the devastating financial losses suffered by farmers, estimated at 400 billion rupees due to low prices, coupled with an additional 150 billion rupees loss incurred by the government due to farmers withholding their wheat. According to Khokhar, this crisis is exacerbated by the alleged practices of wheat smuggling followed by subsequent imports.

Highlighting the dire predicament faced by farmers, Khokhar stressed the urgent need for an independent agriculture commission. He decried the lack of decision-making power afforded to wheat farmers and criticized governmental inaction, asserting that farmers have invested heavily in black-market purchases but are left without adequate support.

Khokhar’s impassioned remarks culminated in a demand for stringent punishment for those implicated in wheat imports, characterizing the crisis as the nation’s gravest concern and labeling wheat importation as a colossal scandal. He vehemently condemned what he perceived as the sacrifice of millions of farmers for the sake of corruption and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable, even demanding the death penalty for those involved.

The PKI has vowed nationwide protests, signaling their intent to stage symbolic funeral prayers for agriculture and expand their demonstrations across the country. Frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of government response, they assert that protest remains their sole recourse in seeking redress for the agricultural sector.

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