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January 30, 2015

Farmers’ reps removed from PTB board of directors


January 30, 2015

SWABI: The only genuine tobacco grower representing the district in the board of directors of the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) has been removed under a well-planned strategy, sources said on Thursday.
The sources said that when Swabi politician Shahram Khan Tarakai was provincial agriculture minister, he had sent two names from Swabi district and one from Buner district to the Ministry of Commerce for inclusion in the board of directors.
It has been learnt that each province is represented by three representatives of farmers in the PTB board of directors. The minister was authorised to nominate three people and he sent their names to Federal Commerce Ministry for approval.The nominated three members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were: Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) vice-president Biland Iqbal and Liaqat Yousafzai, a leader of farmers from Swabi district, and AJIP’s district Buner president Raj Wali, said the sources.
It was learnt that Liaqat Yousafzai’s name was strongly resisted by the buyers, especially the tobacco companies, because he was the leader of the growers and had struggled for their rights during the last several seasons.
There was a conspiracy to keep Liaqat Yousafzai out of the PTB board of directors and reportedly some politicians also became involved in it. The sources said the name of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf district president Anwar Haqdad Khan had been included to replace Liaqat Youszai. It is now expected that Biland Iqbal, Raj Wali and Anwar Haqdad would represent the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tobacco growers in the PTB.
Growers here alleged that they had always been deprived of genuine representation in the PTB and the removal of Liaqat Yousufzai was the latest example of this policy. They said the PTB had failed in protecting the interests of the growers.

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