ISLAMABAD              -        Tobacco farmers and in­dustrial workers have sought National Assem­bly Speaker Asad Qais­er’s intervention against the imposition of ad­vance tax to save thou­sands of jobs and the lo­cal industry.

“We demand the PTI gov­ernment not to increase the existing advance tax on tobacco,” reads a letter written by the representa­tives of industrial workers and farmers to the speaker yesterday.

The letter recalled the fact that it was because of the speaker’s inter­vention that the govern­ment had withdrawn the decision to impose Rs 300 advance tax in 2019.

“We request you to help the tobacco farm­ers and industrial work­ers to help us again,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by President Mehnat­kash Labour Federation Abrar Ullah, President Ki­san Board Pakistan Riz­wanullah, President Sar­had Agricultural and Rural Development Or­ganisation Haji Abdul Nabi Mohmand, President Tahaffuz Haqooq Kasht­karan Liaqat Yousafzai, and Mazdoor Kisaan Co­ordinator Mohammad Iqbal.

It explained that mul­tinational companies are making attempts that the government enhance advance tax on tobacco which will annihilate the local industry and help establish their monopoly.

The farmers said they fear “exploitation” at the hands of the multination­al companies once their monopoly is established.

The local tobacco in­dustry is providing more than 20,000 jobs where­as the multinationals were known for throw­ing people out of jobs.

Last year, the govern­ment had proposed im­position of Rs 300 ad­vance tax per kilogram on tobacco which trig­gered protests.