MARDAN - The tobacco farmers and tobacco dealers have warned to hold more protests and hunger strike camps in front of the Parliament House if the government does not withdraw the extra tax on tobacco crop in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
While talking to TheNation here on Thursday, Provincial Vice President of Anjuman-e-Khastkaran (AK) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Haji Naimat Shah Roghani, said that if the government doesn’t take back the mentioned tax on tobacco and does not provide relief to farmers they will continue their protest and will stage a hunger strike camp in front of the Parliament House.
He appreciated the participation of MNAs from of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the protest rally staged on March 14 in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad, against extra tax on tobacco.
Haji Naimat Shah Roghani further said that if the government doesn’t finish the mentioned tax on tobacco and does not provide relief to farmers they will continue their protest and will stage a hunger strike camp in front of the Parliament House.
“The government has imposed 10 rupee per kg tax on tobacco and farmers and tobacco dealers of the province, however, all of us have rejected this tax,” Haji Naimat said.
They (farmers and tobacco dealers) had held the stage protest rally in front of the Parliament House.
He further said that large number of farmers and tobacco dealers attended the rally.
Haji Naimat Shah Roghani added that the mentioned rally was led by Iftkhar Khan, President Tobacco Dealers Association, General Secretary Fazl-e-Rehman, Irshad Khan, Jan Nisar Khan, Haji Bakhat Sher Khan, Haji Shahjehan Khan, Haji Naimat Shah Roghani, Vice President of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Mian Syed Abdal Shah Bacha, and others.
He further said that KPK MNAs including Maulana Mohammad Qasim, Usman Khan Taraki, Parveez Khan, Haji Khanzada Khan, Istaqbal Khan, Malak Azmat Khan, Malak Lal Khan and Awami National Party (ANP) Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan had participated in their protest and gave surety to the farmers that they would raise voice for the farmers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly. Haji Naimat Shah Roghani added that he is very thankful to Asfandyar Wali Khan for participating in the protest rally and giving surety that he and his party would take interest to resolve the problems of farmers of the province.
He further said that Asfandyar Wali Khan had told the farmesr that in this connection he would arrange a meeting of farmers with the President, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
Haji Naimat Shah Roghani further said that tobacco is a cash crop of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and over five lakh people are dependent on this crop. He further said that approximately Rs 770 million are going into national wealth in shape of excise duty from this crop.
He further said that farmers also pay tax to the Pakistan Tobacco Board and the provincial government and now the federal government implemented more tax on this crop, which is tantamount to economic murder of the farmers.
He added that the government has also increased prices of fertilizers, insecticides and petroleum products and due to which the agriculture of the country is destroyed and now they have implemented more tax on tobacco.
He added that due to the wrong agriculture polices of government farmers will be compelled to stop the cultivation of tobacco and due to this more then 5 lakh people whose livelihood is related with this crops will be sacked.
He demanded of the government to provide protection to the tobacco industry and concerning business and finish cruel tax on tobacco and provide relief to the farmers.