Pakistan: Punjab Farmers Moves Lahore HC against Govt’s Refusal to Buy Wheat


Farmers in Punjab (Pakistan) took their grievances to the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday, challenging the provincial government’s refusal to buy wheat from them, as per reports. Farhat Manzoor Chandio filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, challenging the Punjab government’s stance on purchasing wheat from farmers.

The Plea

The petitioner argued that the government is obligated to procure wheat from farmers at the official price, which was announced at PKR 3900 per maund. However, the government has yet to implement this policy. The Punjab government was scheduled to commence wheat procurement from April 22, but no progress has been made, leaving farmers to sell their crops at reduced prices due to inclement weather.

The petitioner urged the court to compel the government to purchase wheat from farmers and to take action against any unlawful entities involved. As of now, the Punjab government has not made a decision regarding wheat procurement.

Farmer Leader

Meanwhile, farmer leader Sultan Javed disclosed that a deadline had been set for Monday to reach a decision, with an announcement regarding future actions anticipated. He praised Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s decision to increase the wheat procurement target and expressed hope that the Punjab government would follow suit soon.

Previously, Sharif responded to farmers’ complaints by urging the federal government to promptly procure wheat from farmers and increasing the procurement target from 1.4 million metric tons to 1.8 million metric tons, as per a statement from the Pakistan PM office.

Opposition Stance

In a show of solidarity with wheat growers, opposition members in the Punjab Assembly boycotted Friday’s proceedings and announced plans for a protest on Monday against what they deemed as the incumbent government’s inadequate wheat procurement policy. The issue of wheat procurement was a recurring topic in the assembly, with both treasury and opposition members expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s assurances.

Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin explained that the current moisture level in the grain, up to 18 percent, prevented his department from purchasing the produce due to potential losses after drying and weight reduction.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan reiterated that the government had set the minimum support price of wheat at PKR 3,900 per 40 kilograms. However, it was being sold at PKR 3,200 in the open market, causing uncertainty among growers regarding the department’s willingness to procure their produce.

Khan highlighted concerns about significant sums of money from the farming community being held by intermediaries and the apprehension among sugarcane growers about recovering their dues from mills.

Rana Shehbaz, the chief whip of the Sunni Ittehad Council, announced his party’s boycott of the assembly proceedings and pledged to launch a protest campaign on Monday in support of affected growers. He stated that his party was coordinating with various farmer groups to include them in the protest.

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