Capital Police on Friday fired water cannon and resorted to baton charge to disperse a protest by the Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) held at Islamabad’s D-Chowk. Police also used tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesters who were gathered in front of the Parliament building to demand subsidies on fertilisers and electricity bills as well as judicious distribution of gunny bags.
The leaders of the farmers said that the farmers have been left at the mercy of Patwaris for the distribution of Bardana. They also said that proposals are made in the project for the betterment of agriculture sector and the toiling masses but nothing is done practically. They said that their hard earned produce is purchased at reduced rates than the one fixed by the government like procedure price of wheat. They said they were facing extreme difficulty to meet both ends due to high input costs and less prices of their products.
Police say they acted against protesters who violated the ban on rallies in the capital. Protesters were beaten and dozens of them were arrested including their leader. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah arrived at the site of the protest shortly after it started and strongly criticised the government for acting against a community that is very import for the economy of the country.
Farmers have long accused successive governments of neglecting the agriculture sector in every single budget. But their issues are not being solved as government has put a deaf ear to their demands. It is being quite some time now that farmers have expressed their reservations time and again but it is unfortunate that, to gain attention of those sitting in corridor of power, they had to assemble in Islamabad to register their protest. Authorities blamed that the protesters violated a ban on rallies in the capital, but we have witnessed that during the same ban proscribed organizations have often held public rallies in the capital and authorities did not take any action against them. Farmers who are considered as backbone of the economy should have been treated in a decent manner and their reservations should have been redressed.
Using extreme tactics against protesting farmers who are backbone of economy is highly condemnable.