Pakistan Police Arrest Farmers' Leaders Amid Protests Over Delayed Wheat Procurement

Punjab police crack down on farmers protesting delayed wheat procurement at government-fixed price, sparking wider unrest and concerns over Pakistan's agricultural crisis.

Waqas Arain
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Punjab Police Arrest Farmers' Leaders Amid Protests Over Delayed Wheat Procurement

Punjab Police Arrest Farmers' Leaders Amid Protests Over Delayed Wheat Procurement

Pakistan police initiates action against farmers in the province for protesting the delayed wheat procurement at the government-fixed price amid a wet spell in Lahore, Pakistan. The farmers had planned to stage a demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly, but the police launched a crackdown and detained leaders including Mumtaz Daulatana, the president of the Kashtkar (farmers) Foundation Punjab.

Police have also been deployed at the Motorway M-3 Interchange to prevent farmers from reaching Lahore for the protest. The arrests come as the Kisan Ittehad farmers' alliance, led by Vice President Sabir Niaz Kombuh, announced a sit-in protest outside the assembly to demand the government initiate wheat procurement. Central Chairman Khalid Hussain was set to lead a caravan of farmers from different cities to the assembly.

The farmers are protesting the delay in the official wheat procurement drive, which has forced them to sell their wheat at a lower rate of 3,000 rupees per maund instead of the fixed government price of 3,900 rupees. Recent heavy rains have further exacerbated their difficulties, with concerns about damage to the wheat crop and challenges for future cultivation.

Why this matters: The pakistan police detain farmers protest call highlight the plight of farmers in Punjab who are struggling due to the government's failure to procure wheat at the promised price. The situation has broader implications for Pakistan's agricultural sector and the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the region.

In response to the planned demonstrations, the police have gathered prison vans and deployed water cannons outside the Punjab Assembly. The opposition Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party has called for sit-in protests on major roads across Punjab Province on April 30, while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) have decided to join the farmers' protest. SIC chief whip Tariq Mehboob Koreja assured the farmers of the opposition's support in their "just cause".

The government's response to the farmers' demands and the ongoing protest will be critical in resolving the wheat procurement crisis. Khalid Khokhar, a farmer from Vehari district, expressed his frustration, saying, "We are forced to sell our hard-earned wheat at throwaway prices due to the government's apathy. They promised to buy our crop at 3,900 rupees per maund but have failed to do so. Now we are struggling to make ends meet." As the situation unfolds, the fate of Punjab's farmers hangs in the balance, with the delayed wheat procurement threatening their livelihoods and the province's agricultural stability.

Key Takeaways

  • Punjab police cracked down on farmers protesting delayed wheat procurement.
  • Farmers planned to protest at Punjab Assembly, but police detained leaders.
  • Farmers forced to sell wheat at 3,000 rupees/maund instead of 3,900 rupees.
  • Opposition parties joined farmers' protest, criticizing government's response.
  • Delayed wheat procurement threatens farmers' livelihoods and agricultural stability.