Monday October 18, 2021

Imran has destroyed agri sector: Bilawal

April 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has slammed the federal government over the devastation of the agriculture sector, adding it is shameful that an agrarian country has been compelled to import cotton, sugar and wheat.

In statement on Friday, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan has brought us to the verge of collapse and if Khan does not change his anti-agriculture policies, then the farmers would be on the frontline in our protest against the government.”

He said the concurrent import of wheat, sugar and cotton was a testament of the incompetence of the federal government that also marked a dark day in the history of the country. He pointed out that the cotton production in Pakistan has fallen by 34 percent to its lowest in 30 years. “Pakistan’s famed textile industry too was on the verge of collapse because of the cotton crisis,” he added.

The PPP chairman said the ‘selected’ prime minister has imposed an agricultural emergency with a budget of Rs65 billion, which was not implemented anywhere. He further said cotton, chili, tomato, onion, rice, sugarcane and other crops were affected during the last rains but the government did not offer any incentive or compensation to the farmers.

He said the farmers have been struggling to repay their agricultural loans, and the fertilizer prices also skyrocketed. Bilawal said Imran Khan mocked the people by claiming that everything was fine, adding that the inept agricultural policies of the PTI government led to tomato farmers dumping their crop for nothing and yet the PM remained unconcerned with the issue.

The PPP chairman said when his party took over the federal government, wheat was being procured from abroad but within a year Pakistan became a wheat exporting country. However, he said the PTI regime, instead of compensating the farmers at Rs2,000 per 40 kilograms of wheat, decided to import substandard wheat at Rs2,750 per 40 kg. He said history would not be kind to the prime minister and that it would be written that as the farmers were protesting against Modi in Delhi, the farmers in Lahore might start protesting against Pakistan’s Modi, ‘Imran Khan’. He said Imran Khan politicised the police in Lahore and martyred a farmer during their protest, when the police harshly handled the peaceful protest of farmers’ movement.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari asked the government that if electricity could be subsidised for industries, then why not for the agriculture sector. He demanded that urgent steps should be taken to provide relief to the agriculture sector or a new crisis would soon plague the country.