Punjab Police Arrest Over 250 Farmers Protesting Unfair Wheat Procurement Policy in Lahore

Farmers in Pakistan protest delayed wheat procurement, leading to mass arrests by police. Opposition parties condemn the government's response, highlighting the challenges faced by the farming community.

Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
Punjab Police Arrest Over 250 Farmers Protesting Unfair Wheat Procurement Policy in Lahore

Punjab Police Arrest Over 250 Farmers Protesting Unfair Wheat Procurement Policy in Lahore

On April 30, 2024, the Punjab police in Pakistan arrested over 250 farmers who were protesting outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore against the unfair wheat procurement policy. The farmers, led by the Kisan Ittehad (Farmers' Alliance), had gathered to hold a sit-in protest against the Punjab government's failure to begin the wheat procurement process on time, which has caused significant hardship for the farmers.

The police launched a crackdown, charged batons, and prevented the farmers from protesting or holding a sit-in outside the provincial legislative assembly. The president of Kisan Ittehad, Mian Umair, expressed concern over the arrests of their members and stated that the farmers have suffered a lot due to the delayed wheat procurement and unfavorable weather conditions.

In preparation for the demonstration, the police had assembled several prisoner vans and set up water cannons outside the Punjab Assembly, where the sit-in protest was scheduled to take place. The police detained several farmers, including the Kissan Board Punjab President Rashid Minhala and other district-level officials.

The farmers highlighted that recent heavy rains have further exacerbated their difficulties, causing damage to the wheat crop and raising concerns about future cultivation. "The government has been criticized for not buying wheat and not following the suggestions of the House, but instead arresting the farmers," said a representative of the Kisan Ittehad.

Why this matters: The ongoing protest and the government's response to the farmers' demands will be crucial in resolving the wheat procurement crisis and addressing the grievances of the farming community. The situation underscores the challenges faced by farmers in Pakistan and the need for fair and timely agricultural policies to support their livelihoods.

Several opposition political parties, including PTI, PPP, and JI, expressed their support for the farmers and criticized the government's policies and crackdowns. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) have decided to join the farmers' protest, with the SIC assuring the farmers of the opposition's support in their "just cause". The Punjab government, however, denied the arrests of any farmers' representatives and emphasized the need to protect the farmers' interests through dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

Key Takeaways

  • Police arrested over 250 farmers protesting wheat procurement delays in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Farmers, led by Kisan Ittehad, were denied right to protest outside Punjab Assembly.
  • Heavy rains damaged wheat crop, exacerbating farmers' difficulties, as govt failed to act.
  • Opposition parties expressed support for farmers, criticized govt's policies and crackdowns.
  • Punjab govt denied arrests, emphasized need for dialogue to protect farmers' interests.