ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday has directed Attorney General (AG) Salman Aslam Butt to challenge the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) suspension of farmers’ relief package in the Supreme Court.
After chairing a meeting on issues faced by the agricultural sector, the prime minister directed the attorney general to file a petition in apex court against the suspension of certain provisions that facilitate farmers in the package.
Premier Nawaz maintained that the Rs341 billion package is meant for farmers across the country and was not announced for any specific region or province.
Apparently questioning the suspension of relief package by ECP, the PM said that the government is working for farmers’ rights without any political or regional bias.
The ECP on September 30 denounced the farmers’ relief package announced by the PM as a violation of ECP code of conduct and barred the government from implementing it.
The decision was announced citing the reason that the relief offered through farmers’ package was not part of the budget speech made by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Earlier on September 22, ECP issued notices to the secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the secretary of Ministry of Food Security and Research to explain the announcement of package after the announcement of schedule of LG polls’ in Sindh and Punjab.
PM Nawaz Sharif announced a relief package of Rs341 billion to revive the farm sector on September 16.
Small farmers across the country, will be provided a direct benefit of Rs147 billion, whereas an additional loan of Rs194 billion will be available to the agriculture sector, according to the package. The package has been approved by the federal cabinet.
Through the aforementioned package, the government had decided to provide a cash support of Rs5,000 with immediate effect to the growers of cotton and rice as a direct relief.
The amount will be disbursed among the farmers owning a maximum of 12.5 acres of land. It will cost the government Rs20bn. The amount will be equally shared by the provincial government concerned.