Lahore - Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi on Tuesday expressed concerns that the government had put the local farmers’ future in jeopardy and becoming dependant on the multinational companies’ genetically modified seeds could pose threat to the national food security.

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Giving remarks, the judge sent a writ petition seeking ban on the use of multinational companies’ seed and amendement to the Seed Act 2015 and the Plant breeders’ rights Act 2016, which encourage the use of multinational companies’ seed, to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Anwaarul Haq to form a larger bench to decide the “public interest” matter.

The judge observed that the issue should be referred to a larger bench which will decide whether to declare the acts unconstitutional.

During the last hearing, the court had directed the PTI-led government to give reply whether it wants to make changes to the acts or not. As per the court orders, the federal government yesterday could not give a satisfactory reply. The judge observed that the issue is of public importance and could endanger the food security of the country by giving multinational companies a free hand to sell their genetically modified seeds at high prices.

In the petition filed by NGO Human Voice, Sheraz Zaka Advocate argued that the impugned Seed Act had been passed without the approval of the cabinet and Under Article 144 of the Constitution the amendment made in the act could not have been passed by the federal legislature as it is a provincial subject. Furthermore, he argued that the impugned act had been passed depriving the farmers of their traditional farming practices and instead the multinational corporations have been accommodated to protect their genetically breeding practices which is contagious to the environment, anti-competitive and harmful to the national economy

He contended neither any resolution had been passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Assembly nor by any other provincial assembly hence the parliament could not pass the bill without such resolutions from the provinces. He said that the scope of the writ was wide and requires the attention of the court. He said the federal government had ratified convention on biological diversity but the federal government had not given attention to the protection of traditional breeding practices.

Justice Mazahar Ali observed that the matter was of public importance. The court adjourned the hearing for short date and observed that it is shocking that local farmers’ future had been put in jeopardy and it can pose threat to national food security by becoming dependant on the multinational companies’ genetically modified seeds.