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LAHORE: Lahore Police detained several farmers from the provincial metropolis on Monday, aiming to prevent them from staging a demonstration over the delay in wheat procurement by the provincial government, and the prevailing market rates lower than the announced support price.

The Kissan Ittehad had declared its intention to hold a demonstration to urge the government to initiate the wheat procurement drive and to announce a clear policy on the quantity it intends to purchase.

As farmers began to gather at GPO Chowk to rally towards Charing Cross and stage a sit-in protest in front of the Punjab Assembly building, heavy contingents of police moved in and started making arrests. Approximately 25 farmers were reportedly detained from GPO Chowk and shifted to various police stations of the city.

Kissan Ittehad Chairman Khalid Hussain warned the government to release the organization’s workers immediately and to address their demands, threatening a province-wide wheel-jam strike otherwise.

Meanwhile, Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) claimed that their Central Lahore President, Mian Rasheed Minhala, was arrested by Lahore Police from his residence in the morning. KBP President Sardar Zafar Hussain and Central Secretary Information Haji Muhammad Ramzan, along with others, issued a joint statement criticizing the police for arresting Rasheed Minhala and other farmers to suppress their protest for their rights.

They stated that such tactics would not deter the farmers from securing their rights and demanded the immediate release of the detained farmers and acceptance of their demands. They also commended JI Chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman for supporting the farmers’ movement.

Pakistan Kissan Labour Party Chairman Mubashar Majeed Dogar strongly condemned the baton charge and arrest of farmers on Mall Road. He demanded the immediate release of the growers and urged the government to start purchasing wheat at Rs 3900 per maund without delay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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