Tobacco farmers and industrial workers from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tuesday appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the proposal regarding imposition of advance tax of Rs 500 per kg on tobacco leaf in upcoming budget 2020-21 which entails dangerous consequences for the local tobacco industry. They protested against the proposal of imposing advance tax of Rs 500 on tobacco leaf and demanded the government to tax cigarette pack instead. “Remove additional tax on tobacco leaf and put tax on cigarette pack,” representatives of farmers and industrial workers demanded after a meeting. “The new tax will bring end to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of families directly dependent upon the tobacco sector,” they said. Senior representatives of Kissan Board Pakistan, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organization, Pakistan Tobacco Growers Association, Anjuman Tahaffuz Huqooq Kashtkaraan, Kashtkaar Coordination Council, Mehnat Kash Labor Federation and Dealers Association alongwith hundreds of workers attended the meeting where they protested against the move.The meeting discussed the issue in detail and also demanded the government to take action against multinational companies who have suspended thousands of workers. “Multinational companies are working against national economy. After thorough inquiry culprits should be punished,” they demanded. The proposal of advance tax, according to the FBR, was floated by multinational companies to which the representatives of farmers said these companies were influencing government’s decision through lobbying. Explaining the issue, they said that the lobby of multinational companies was pushing the government for the brutal measure to tax tobacco leaf after which local buyer of tobacco would lose the strength to purchase from the farmer. Consequently, multinational companies would enjoy full authority of the tobacco leaf and can easily exploit tobacco farmers according to their very own will, they said.Tobacco is the only cash crop of KP through which government earns billions of rupees in terms of taxes every year. Imposition of any such tax would badly affect this sector as hundreds of thousands of workers associated with this sector would go jobless and thousands of families dependent upon them would face the impact. The farmers said that these multinational companies were forcefully selling the wood used in processing tobacco leaf at the rate of Rs 700 instead of Rs 500. Moreover, various fertilizers and pesticide was being sold to us forcibly. They said the multinational companies are deceiving the government through false targets but in reality tobacco exports have gone down as well as the government revenues.