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Farmers protest in Lahore to raise support prices of crops

LAHORE: The farmers under the banner of Kisan Ittehad Pakistan resumed their sit-in on Wednesday after a late-night police crackdown on protesters.

The Kisan Ittehad had announced to stage a protest outside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday demanding increased support prices for the wheat and sugarcane crops. The police and the Anti-Riot Force personnel started a late-night crackdown against the farmers at Thokar Niaz Baig locality in Lahore. The police resorted to baton charge, teargas shelling, and arrested scores of protesters, who pelted stones at the policemen.

The protesters said they would continue the protest till government issues a notification and approves of their demand. The farmers have blocked the Multan Road at Thokar Niaz Baig causing hardships for commuters and creating a traffic jam in the area.

Chairman Kissan Ittehad Chaudhry Muhammad Anwar said that no talks will be held until the release of the arrested farmers. He said they were peaceful but the police resorted to violence and shelling against unarmed farmers. The protest leader also claimed that police stole mobile phones and cash from the sleeping farmers.

Yesterday, the Kisan Ittehad Pakistan had announced to call off their strike after holding talks with Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat. The farmer’s leader Muhammad Anwar highlighted the demands and the problems being faced by the farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Raja Basharat said providing relief to the farmers is the prime objective of the incumbent government and steps are being taken to provide facilitate them. He assured the farmers of all-put support and complete redressal of their reservations on wheat, cotton and sugar crops.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had recently fixed wheat support price at Rs1,600 for the next year’s crop, whereas the Sindh cabinet fixed the same at Rs2,000 per 40 kilogrammes. Punjab and Balochistan had recommended the federal government to fix maximum wheat procurement support price at Rs1,700 per 40kg, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa proposed Rs1,880 per 40kg.