LAHORE - Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has demanded of the government immediately announce agricultural policy ahead of wheat harvest keeping in with the threat of COVID19.

“In the agricultural policy, the government must protect the interests of small farmers while taking into account the measures to save the people from coronavirus,” he said, while holding a meeting on agriculture here on Tuesday. Shehbaz Sharif urged the party to prepare recommendations with regard to wheat harvest, supply of wheat from farm to market and government’s wheat support price so as to help the farmers in the coming days of wheat harvesting season. As PML-N has prepared its recommendations in consultation with medical experts, economists, businessmen and traders, he said that, in the same way, the party was holding consultations with party leaders, agriculturists and farming community to prepare recommendations for government to implement in the best interest of farmers and country’s economy.

“It is a biggest challenge are supply of wheat from fields to storages, purchase of wheat by the government, and fixing of support price to give full return to farmers’ hard toil throughout the season,” he added.  He urged the government to formulate a policy to protect the rights of growers and farmers, and warned that PML-N would not tolerate injustice or any unfair treatment with the farmers.

He said that PML-N had always attached highest priority to agriculture and farmers’ community. During PML-N’ tenure, Shahbaz Sharif said that, the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, announced historic “Kisan Package”. Under this package, he said, the Nawaz Sharif’s government provided electricity at low tariff, fertilizer at half prices, concession on diesel-run tube-wells. In Punjab, he said that the government had provided interest-free loans to small land holders, which helped double the production of crops in the province. “The government not just made it easier for farmers to obtain loans but also waived the fee charges on acquisition on these loans, which bolstered the agricultural economy in the province,” he added.

He said that, presently, the country was in the grip of coronavirus, and all segments were making efforts individually as well as collectively to combat the scourge of COVID19. “It is the best time stand with the people of Pakistan and help successfully defeat this healthcare crisis in the country,” he said, adding, that it must be taken into account to ensure social distancing during wheat purchase in the country.

Meanwhile, in a statement, PML-N Punjab spokesperson Azma Bukhari demanded Chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take notice of the wheat and sugar heist, which was established in inquiry report of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). However, she termed its beyond comprehension to award clean chit to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who chaired the cabinet meeting to grant subsidy to Jehangir Tareen, Khusro Bakhtiar and allied parties as a reward for helping PTI form government in the Centre and Punjab.

While arriving at Lahore Press Club on Shahbaz Sharif’s direction, PML-N Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar and Azma Bukhari distributed protective gear among journalists, who were on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus in the country. They presented protective kits, masks, soaps and sanitizers to the journalists, saying that the government was not playing its role to properly equip the frontline soldiers including the doctors, law-enforcement forces and journalists in the fight against coronavirus in the country.