LAHORE : Fazal Elahi Khan, senior vice president of KP Chamber of Agriculture, has appreciated the Senate’s Standing Committee on Health for adopting a consultative process while deliberating on a private member’s bill on “Prohibition of Tobacco and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Act” initiated by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed. Khan said, “It’s good that the committee members had called me to committee’s meeting to share ‘legitimate’ concerns of the tobacco farmers”. He said the particular bill marginalises the tobacco sector in general and farmers in particular. “The livelihoods of more than 75,000 farmers and millions of dependents are endangered by the bill,” he said. “In KP, which is worst hit by terrorism and militancy, the opportunities to make a respectable living amidst lack of resources are very limited. In this scenario, the legitimate tobacco cultivation is a major source of income for many.

Depriving us of our livelihood in the name of so-called legislation is an unjust measure and creates a negative impact on legitimate tobacco trade,” he added.

Khan said that the demand for locally grown tobacco will go down, and farmers would be left with no option but to start cultivation of poppy again.

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