Tonight with Moeed Pirzada: Farmers Protest in Islamabad !

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Mr Khalid Memood Khokhar, President of Kissan Ittehad was invited in the show to express his grievances against the Federal government. Kissan Ittehad is on protest since 26 May, 2017 when Finance Minister presented federal budget. Their demands were very much clear and simple, i.e eliminate or reduce the taxes on fertilizers and electricity for farmers. But it turned bad day for our kissans. Police arrested around 180 protesters and 2 were reportedly injured with bullet shots, while they were trying to reach parliament house to record their reservations on budget. Mr. Khalid Khokhar told Dr. Moeed Pirzada that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif never bothered to meet the kissans of this country. Prime Minister has also announced kissan package of 341 Billion Rupees on 15 September 2015, but in fact only 30 Billions were utilized which are the actual figures of federal government.

Dr. Pirzada inquired from the President of Kissan Ittehad that what their basic demands are? Mr Khalid Khokhar explained that government has imposed huge general sales tax on agriculture products as compare to international or regional market. While India is allowed to exports its fruits, vegetables and cotton to Pakistan without any duty or custom tax. These Indian duty free products are much lowers in price which should be stopped importing in Pakistan. Mr Khokhar presented the document of Punjab government which compared the taxes and prices of both countries. Rice is Rs 900 per 40 kg in India while in Pakistan its Rs. 1371 per 40 kg, Wheat is Rs. 763 in India and Rs 912 in Pakistan and similarly cotton in India is Rs. 1076 and in Pakistan its Rs. 2533 per 40 kg. The document also clearly shows the huge difference of tax rates on agriculture machinery. Dr Pirzada argued that it might be pressure by IMF, not to subsidies the agriculture products. Mr Khokhar responded that this government looks like a representative of IMF not the kissans/agriculturists of this country.

Government has also mislead the people by claiming the subsidies on fertilizers and electricity. The rate of DAP fertilizers in Pakistan is around Rs. 2600 per 50 kg, while in India it is around Rs. 1600 per 50 kg. Similarly Urea is Rs 1400 per 50 kg and in India its Rs. 700 per 50 kg. The tariffs on electricity were also raised despite the announcement of reducing the electricity tariffs for agriculture machinery.

Mr Khalid Khokhar said that they have given the ultimatum of three days to meet their demands, otherwise kissan ittehad will start Long March on tractor trolley from around the country towards Islamabad.

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