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Farmers Protest Across Pakistan, Demand Wheat Purchases and Action on Wheat Scandal

LAHORE: In response to a call from the Pakistan Kisan Rabita Committee, farmers organized protest demonstrations in 30 districts across the country, demanding the commencement of wheat purchases from growers and the arrest of individuals implicated in the wheat scandal.

In Punjab, protests occurred in cities including Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Vehari, Jhang, Pakpattan, Chiniot, Kasur, Khanewal, Bahawalnagar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Burewala, Chishtian, and Jampur.

In Sindh, farmers rallied in Karachi, Shikarpur, Nawabshah, Qamber Shahdadkot, Nowshehru Feroze, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Sanghar, and Shahpur Chakar. Protests also took place in Quetta and Jhal Magsi in Balochistan, as well as in Peshawar and Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In Lahore, hundreds of farmers, including men, women, and youth, gathered at Charing Cross on The Mall, demanding that the Punjab government immediately begin purchasing wheat from the growers.

PKRC General Secretary Farooq Tariq addressed the demonstrators, presenting the farmers’ charter of demands. These included the immediate start of grain purchases from farmers, the arrest of those involved in wheat imports before the harvest season, market regulation to ensure fair prices for produce, withdrawal of grain import policies for the private sector, a minimum support price for all crops, rejection of ‘neoliberal’ and ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the International Monetary Fund, compensation for farmers affected by the wheat scandal, and strict action against those lending money to small farmers with interest.

Mehr Mohammad Buta, a smallholder from Sheikhupura, stated that the government’s failure to purchase wheat led to a market crash, leaving growers unable to plant subsequent crops.

Other speakers at the Lahore demonstration included Saima Zaa, Rifat Maqsood, Qamar Abbas, Zaigham Abbas, Hasnain Jameel, and Ali Abdullah. A large police contingent was present at the event.

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