We belong to a poor farmer family in KPK. My grandfather used to grow poppies but now my father is growing tobacco. We are told that a conference (FCTC) is going to be held in Seoul in November that will ban tobacco cultivation and we are very worried about this. My father holds a small tract of land and we cannot do away with cultivation of tobacco because this is our main source of income.

I have talked to several experts and journalists and they say that although the price and taxes are an effective and important means of reducing tobacco consumption, those countries that have signed up with Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) should have a sovereign right to decide their own fiscal policies regarding tobacco, and no one else can dictate the financial policies. In my native area in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa tobacco is the main source of income for many farmers and a source of revenue for the tax authorities. Why should there be any guidelines on tax measures, since economic priorities are settled by respective governments, and they have the sovereign right to take decision on this issue. We request the government to help us and do not abide by any proposal that will destroy our livelihood.


Mardan, October 22.