ISLAMABAD   -    The tobacco growers on Monday arrived in Islamabad to stage a protest against the Federal Board of Revenue for imposing additional tax on tobacco cultivators.

The tobacco farmers and labour unions moved towards the federal capital to protest against the FBR, however, the convoys of vehicles were stopped on different entry points.

The city administration tried to disperse the protestors directing them they cannot hold protest in red zone. However, the protestors after negotiating with city administration entered the city. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tobacco growers and employees of tobacco multinationals and KP Labour Federation Unions including KP Kisan Board, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organisation (SARDO) and Anjuman e Tahafuz e Mahanatkush were the organising bodies of protest against the FBR.

The protestors said that tobacco is major cash crop of KP and thousands of people in KP are associated with tobacco sector and this sector is also contributing Rs130 billion as tax in the national exchequer annually.

Tobacco production makes an important role to strengthen national economy but anti-Pakistan forces are hatching conspiracies to destroy this sector.

Thousands of tobacco and 15,000 of industrial workers are also associated with tobacco sector in KP, but policies of the government to impose Rs300/kg tax on tobacco has multiplied miseries of tobacco cultivators.

Due to such policies Tobacco production in KP has declined to 70 million kilogrammes from 140 million killogrammes. The protestors said that reduced tobacco production has increased monopoly of tobacco multinationals.

Such policies on part of FBR and government are tantamount to destroying the national industry and Pakistan’s bureaucracy is making all this decisions to pave way for foreign companies.

President Kisan Board KP Rizwanullah said that opposed increased tax on tobacco of Rs300/kg and demanded of the government to close economic killings of tobacco growers.

Tobacco is major cash crop of KP, said Rizwanullah adding that we will oppose this tax on tobacco at every forum and protect our tobacco growers.

President SARDO Haji Abdul Nabi Mehmund addressing the protest said that with imposition of Rs300/kg on tobacco will heighten difficulties for tobacco growers by causing unrest among tobacco growers. He said that tobacco multinational companies are making economic killings of workers by dismissing them from services. He demanded the Philip Morris Pakistan to restore the workers and also asked for annulling Rs300/kg tax on tobacco.