Farmers warn of country-wide blockade

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: The protesting farmers, under the umbrella of Kissan Ittehad, on Thursday warned of ‘jamming’ the whole country, giving a two-hour ultimatum to authorities for negotiations. According to details, thousands of protesting farmers continued their sit-in for the second day at the edge of Islamabad’s Red Zone for the fulfillment of their demands.
The protesting farmers have reached Jinnah Avenue and were marching towards D-Chowk, Red Zone for the fulfillment of their demands. Meanwhile, heavy traffic jams were witnessed on Express Road and adjacent highways due to the sit-in. The farmers were demanding the restoration of the previous tubewell electricity tariff of Rs5.3 per unit and abolishing all taxes and adjustments.
The demonstrators demanded an end to the black marketing of fertilisers and reduction of urea rate. They also demanded that agriculture should be given the status of industry. The Kissan Ittehad has vowed to continue the protest till the fulfillment of demands, warning of staging a sit-in at D-Chowk.
In a statement, the police said that the farmers would not be allowed to enter the Red Zone as the demonstrators may have batons or other weapons. The representatives of protesting farmers had assured to stage sit-in in F-9, the police said, adding that the protesters were now determined to march towards D-Chowk.
The spokesperson assured that the police and administration would try to negotiate as much as possible, vowing that action would be taken against those who damage property. He further said that the police and administration would take measures to disperse the protesters. The demonstrators claimed that the government has not yet sent any delegation to negotiate with them and only local administration approached them to negotiate for providing a place for the sit-in.
However, the police officials said efforts were being made by senior officers of the capital administration and police to negotiate with them but their leaders categorically refused to cooperate. Meanwhile, the protesting farmers warned of ‘jamming’ the whole country, giving a two-hour ultimatum to authorities for negotiations.
A day earlier, farmers led by Kissan Ittehad staged a sit-in at Blue Area in Islamabad after the authorities barred them from protesting before the Parliament House. As soon as the rally of the Kissan Ittehad reached Faizabad, the local administration asked them to stage a sit-in at F-9 Park. However, the protesters insisted on moving towards Parliament House and later blocked Blue Area over refusal from authorities.