KARACHI: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has rejected the so called bailout package for farmers announced by the Prime Minister Tuesday as a “political gimmick, devoid of substance and sincerity and aimed only at hoodwinking the farmers and the people on the eve of local bodies’ polls in the province”.
In a statement today the former President expressed grave disappointment that the so-called relief package was not only too -little too late but it did not specify the source of financing.
“The former President deplored that an issue of food security and farmers’ survival was being dealt with in a manner that was no more than a political gimmick,” spokesperson senator Farhatullah Babar said.
When the opposition parties, the farmers and the people were agitating for rescuing farmers from ruination the government turned a deaf ear but as soon as the LB polls were announced it has announced a so-called relief package but without specifying the source of funding.
The government of the big business houses has deliberately targeted the farmers hoping to weaken the political power base of democratic opposition parties but not realizing the enormous damage done to the country in the process, the former President said.
The farmers have been rightly demanding adequate support price for their produce which the government has stubbornly refused.
The former President said that during the PPP governments the agriculture sector witnessed a healthy boom that added to the national wealth brought relief to the farmers and ushered in overall prosperity.
However, the present government neglecting the farming sector diverted scarce resources to politically visible projects like Metro bus for drawing political mileage rather than serving the interests of largest number of people, he said.
Zardari said that the policies of PPP of giving good support price and fixing tariff for tube wells at eight rupees per unit enabled the country to become self sufficient in wheat and brought prosperity to the farmers.
He said that rice growers were groaning but the present government had not yet fulfilled its promise of subsidy of five thousand rupees per maund to them.
The PPP Co-Chairman recalled that when potato prices plummeted former Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto mitigated the sufferings of growers by directing the government to purchase potato stocks.
He said that in the deliberately maligned province of Sindh the provincial government has not only been giving cash support to farmers but also giving them free fertilizers and seeds since the devastating floods of 2010. As a result Sindh today is surplus in food enabling it to distribute more than one million bags of wheat free of cost in Thar alone.
Instead of drawing lesson from the Sindh government the PML-N government is haunting and maligning the provincial government through federal agencies in an unconstitutional and arbitrary manner, Zardari said.