QUETTA (SHARIF KHAN) - Pakistan Flour Mills Association on Wednesday threatened to shut down all flour mills across the country for an indefinite period and stage sit-ins in front of the National Assembly and the Senate if their demands were not sanctioned.  

This was announced by Pakistan Flour Mills Association Central Committee Chairman Badar Din Kakar, Punjab chapter Chairman Riaz Ullah Khan, KP Chairman Haji Yousaf Afridi, Balochistan Chairman Syed Zahoor Agha and others, while addressing a press conference in Quetta, after holding a key moot of the association’s Central Executive Committee at Quetta Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Speaking on the occasion, Badr-ud-Din Kakar said the government had not only stockpiled 4.5 million metric tons of old wheat, but also has indicated to purchase 7 million metric tons more wheat.  

He asked the PML-N government to ascertain how much wheat they would procure from cultivators in the prevailing situation when the already stocked wheat was spoiling.  

Kakar alleged the government was paying billions of rupees as interest while Pakistani wheat was confronting challenges in its traditional market of Afghanistan to compete with India and Central Asian Republic states.  

The ruling regime decided to extend rebate in 2015 on wheat and flour exports, under which flour mills owners and other exporters had exported 0.6 million tons of wheat and flour from Pakistan, which earned substantial revenue for the country, he noted. 

In spite of this, he lamented, the Punjab, KP and Balochistan governments were still reluctant to pay billions of rupees as rebate to the owners of flour mills. 

“The faulty policies and stubbornness of the rulers have forced closure of 60 percent flour mills in country while tens of thousands of tons wheat is spoiling,” noted the Badr-ud-Din Kakar. 

He went on to say that a large number of families, engaged with 1,600 flour mills, were facing a lot of troubles and threats of unemployment. 

On shutting down border with Afghanistan last time, he said the flour mills owners had not only faced heavy losses, but also there was a considerable decrease in the government revenue. 

He warned if the dues were not paid within one week, they would stage agitation in front of the Senate and the National Assembly and close all flour mills for an indefinite period.