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Farmers call off protest in Islamabad after breakthrough in negotiations with govt

Interior minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed fulfilling of farmers' demands on spot



Farmers call off protest in Islamabad after breakthrough in negotiations with govt
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: Farmers protesting high power tariff and taxes for the past one week during sit-ins in Islamabad, announced on Tuesday to call off their demonstrations after negotiations with the government.

The announcement came soon after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah met with the representatives of protesting farmers. Kissan Ittehad Chairman Khalid Butt alongside Sanaullah called off the protest during media talk. 

The Kissan Ittehad, comprising farmers from across Punjab, was demanding the restoration of the previous tubewell electricity tariff of Rs5.3 per unit and the removal of taxes and adjustments among other things.

Minister Sanaullah said the government had agreed to the farmers’ demands, which included delay and installments in payments of power bills and cancellation of fuel adjustment charges.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted a ministerial committee that would hold meetings with farmers’ representatives and negotiate finer terms of the agreement.

Sanaullah also said that the prime minister would announce a package for farmers in a week or 10 days which would bring tremendous benefit to the farming community and the agriculture sector.

“It is our philosophy that Pakistan will be prosperous when farmers are prosperous. So we will consider all things in a better manner and solve these problems.”

The interior minister thanked the Kissan Ittehad and the protesting farmers for bearing “difficulty” and requested them to disperse since negotiations were successful.

He said the nominated delegation members from the Kissan Ittehad should stay for further negotiations and the rest should go back. “It is our responsibility to solve your demands and we will do it,” Sanaullah added.

The interior minister further assured that the committee would work in a “very good” way and the farmers would not need to return.

-- Govt will tackle PTI's long march --

The minister told media that the government had made preparations to tackle the PTI long march. 

“I had a meeting today for their [PTI’s] treatment and a very satisfying formula has been prepared for them, according to which they will be dealt with.”

Sanaullah said in addition to Islamabad police and Rangers, the Pakistan Army would be called in to deal with the march, in accordance with Article 245 of the Constitution.