PTI holds rally today in support of sugar cane farmers

HYDERABAD: In support of the farmers protesting across Sindh against sugar mills owners, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will hold a ‘Kissan Insaf Rally’ today (Wednesday). The rally will start from the Hyderabad Bypass and will commence outside Chief Minister House in Karachi. PTI Sindh President Arif Alvi will lead the rally from Hyderabad to Karachi.

“If any obstacles are created [in the rally’s way] we will hold a sit-in [at the point where the rally is stopped] and not let this system work in Sindh,” PTI’s Senior Vice-President Haleem Adil Shaikh, who announced the rally at a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday, warned.  The party also held a protest in the Haider Chowk area against United States of America President Donald Trump.

Shaikh accused Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari of backing the sugar mill owners. “The mafia has complete support of the Sindh government and Zardari,” he alleged.

He believed that the meeting between the provincial ministers and the farmers’ representatives in Hyderabad on Monday was part of the government’s attempt to buy time.  Agriculture Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and Information Minister Nasir Shah reportedly sought two days from the farmers to resolve the issue which has lingered on for three months. “Even if the sugar mills are reopened, they will pay only Rs130 [per 40 kilogrammes of sugar cane],” he argued.

CM vows to end deadlock between sugar cane farmers, mill owners

After a two-month delay, the Sindh government notified a Rs182 per 40kg rate for the crop in December, 2017. But, the farmers claimed that the mills were paying them between a price of between Rs120 and Rs140 and took the matter to the Sindh High Court. The court ordered on December 21 the mills to pay Rs172 to the farmers and deposit Rs10 in the court until the judiciary gave a verdict over the dispute.

However, the joint sugar cane action committee, which consists of four organisations lobbying for the growers, complained that after the SHC’s order 25 out of 32 sugar mills in the province have stopped operations and buying sugar cane.

Shaikh demanded of the provincial government to compensate the financial losses suffered by the farmers. “If this doesn’t happen, we will launch a movement to get rid of Zardari,” he warned. Shaikh said that the rally will end after submitting a memorandum about farmers’ rights at CM House.

The action committee has also threatened to block the National Highway on January 7.

They say they will not hold any more meetings with the government on the issue

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