Thousands of farmers from Punjab flocked to Islamabad to stage a protest demanding reduction in electricity tariffs and resolution of other economic issues they are facing pertaining to agriculture.
More than 25,000 Punjab farmers held the demonstration under the umbrella of the Pakistani farmer association, Kisan Ittehad, reported local media.
As the protests gained momentum in the capital, the Islamabad police-imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). This protest was part of a series of protests that the farmers have been holding in different parts of Pakistan including near Banigala.
Among the many demands that the farmers have includes the restoration of the previous tubewell electricity tariff of Rs 5.3 per unit and abolishing of all taxes and adjustments, an end must be put to the black marketing of fertilisers and reduction of urea rate which increased to 400pc.
Apart from these demands they also said that the rate of wheat should be fixed at Rs 2,400 per mound and the rate of sugar cane at Rs 280 per mound, reported Dawn citing police quoting the protesters’ demands.
Besides, the farmers also demanded that the blockade of canals should be removed and water released immediately in the area. Moreover, they said, agriculture should also be given the status of an industry.
In a bid to contain the growing protests, the Islamabad police sealed some areas by putting containers on roads, the outlet said citing police and adding that the interchanges and roads adjacent to Islamabad Expressway were also sealed with containers.
Over 2,500 farmers travelling on 40 buses, 29 coasters, six wagons, 11 Sports Utility Vehicles and 18 cars reached Jinnah Avenue. Islamabad Police sealed all entry points of the Red Zone except Margalla Road. Restricted and regulated entry was given to people on Margalla Road. After reaching Jinnah Avenue underpass/interchange, protesters staged a sit-in there till the filing of the report.
The police tried to reach a negotiation with the protesting farmers however, the farmers’ leaders refused to deal with the police and continued voicing their demands. The farmer said that it is ministries or politicians who should negotiate with the protestors and not the police.
On the other hand, teachers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are still protesting in Banigala and Tuesday night, they tried to reach former prime minister Imran Khan’s house, the officers said, adding that police had been deployed inside Khan’s house.