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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) secretary information Marriyum Aurangzeb has said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “desire to bring a million people” at D-Chowk in a bid to save his “sinking boat” would prove to be a dream.

Speaking at a news conference flanked by agriculturalists Riazul Haq Jutt and Rao Ajmal, the PML-N spokesperson claimed that the no-confidence motion would succeed despite, every effort by the prime minister and his government.

“These threats of clogging the way of the parliamentarians with mobs before the no-confidence motion in itself was equivalent to creating a setting for a disaster. But all this is immaterial because nothing could save Imran from being ousted from his illegal appointment as the prime minister,” she added.

She said the truth remains that the PTI did not have the support of the majority of the house which was because of its “disastrous policies that destroyed every sector of Pakistan”. All the while adding Rs22,000 billion [in] new loans, she said.

She rejected Imran’s claims of doing miracles in agriculture and said that the farmers were screaming for help because of Imran’s crushing policies. The farmer was paying Rs5.35 per unit of electricity for tube-wells to water the crops but was now paying Rs17.86 per unit. DAP fertilizer which was Rs2,650 per bag was now Rs10,000 but not even available at this insane price. Price of urea had jumped from Rs1,160 to Rs2,400, she said. Imran not only stopped Kissan package given by the PML-N that launched Pakistan’s agriculture, but in fact reversed it, destroying indigenous agriculture, she added.

Speaking on the occasion, Jutt said Pakistan’s total need was 30 million tons of wheat every year. In the international market what was being sold at $380 per metric ton and wheat production decreased because the government did not increase the support price accordingly, he maintained.

This year three percent less wheat was sowed which would create between three to five million metric tonnes of shortage requiring millions of dollars to import.

He reminded how Pakistan achieved its peak cotton production of 14.5 million bales in 2014-2015 because of the Rs380 billion package by the PML-N government at the time. The production had now dropped to 7.5 million bales, which was why Pakistan had to import 5.5 million bales, he added.

Rao Ajmal said the government’s repetitive and crushing tax regime made no sense and was choking the agriculture sector. There was 17 percent tax on procuring cotton crop and then 17 percent additional tax on cotton mills, another 17 percent on threading. In addition to this 17 percent more tax is imposed on making Banaula from cotton and another 17 percent on top of that for cotton oil. Even the cotton seed has a 17 percent tax on it, he said.

He said cotton earns the most foreign exchange but the government was busy subsidizing and facilitating the sugarcane farmers.

He said China gives $632 per hector subsidy, in US it is $544, in India $126, and in Pakistan, it is only $27 per hector. Subsidy during Nawaz Sharif era was 37.5 percent, which is now 2.4 percent which is self-explanatory, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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