Pakistan PM Imran Khan
Pakistan PM Imran Khan
Photo: AFP

Farmers protesting in Punjab last week demanding their rights have no clue about the whereabouts of their 15 colleagues who went missing after the police began baton charging their protest and arrested around 250 farmers on Multan Road, Dawn reported.

"In fact, the farmers, who were severely injured during the Wednesday mayhem - when police used the batons, water cannons and tear-gassed - were whisked away to unidentified places and are being treated before release. The farmers knew this (being kept at private police places) for the last three days and it has been confirmed by the Saturday returnees as well," Malk Zulfiqar Awan, president of one wing of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI), was quoted as saying.

He further said, "We will return to roads shortly. We are observing qul of the martyred leader Malik Ashfaq on Sunday (today). After that, we plan to call the meeting of the district presidents of the PKI and announce next round of protest. It is a fight for our rights and will be fought to the end." Condemning the police for resorting to baton charge on the protesters, Ch Muhammad Anwer, chairman of the PKI, said, "We were simply demonstrating for our rights. All those who came to negotiate on behalf of the government expressed sympathy to our cause and agreed to our demand being perfectly justified revision of wheat support price to Rs 2,000 per 40 kg." "We were demanding just a meeting either with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar or Prime Minister Imran Khan to persuade them on the rationality of our demand. We still have not been able to comprehend why police were unleashed and unleashed with such ferocity. Both Punjab and federal governments must remember that movements for rights cannot be controlled or killed with the police force. The PKI is going to convene meetings of all district presidents to chalk out next phase of protest," he added.

Following the incident, farmers' bodies in the province and civil society organisation have decided to support PKI in their protest.

"The government has killed a farmer but still it's not listening to farmers. I have been to three districts today, attending farmers' meeting and have seen a very high level of anger among them. The soon government take notice of all four issues - pricing of wheat, killing of a farmers' leader, quick release of those still missing and factors behind police atrocity - the better it would be. Otherwise, the farmers may return to roads with more determination and anger," said Farooq Tariq, general secretary of Kissan Rabita Committee.

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