All provincial govts term land reform as un-Islamic Landless farmers struggle gets severe blow: SEARCHMarch 5, 2014
KARACHI: The four provincial governments of Pakistan have declared land reforms as un-Islamic, informed Executive Director Society for Environmental Actions, Re-Construction and Humanitarian response (SEARCH) Pakistan, Waheed Jamali, while talking to PPI on Wednesday.
“The federal government recently questioned Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan regimes to file comments on land reforms agenda in view of ongoing case in SC that demanded land reforms as Islamic and beneficial for farmers and landless peasants, but in reply, all provincial regimes of Pakistan called them un-Islamic, dealing a severe blow to long-standing struggle being made by farming community and landless peasants,” said SEARCH Executive Director.
Jamali said that the government should redistribute land among peasants and provide financial aid to them for growing crops. Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan economy, accounting for 25% of GDP, 60% of export earnings and 48% of employment, he said.
“Pakistan inherited feudal system from the British Raj. Land distribution in Pakistan is highly unequal as 5pc of large landholders possess 64pc of the total farmland and 65pc small farmers held 15pc of land,” he said.
He said that it was irony that PPP, PML-N, PML-Q and ANP had backed out of their promise of brining in land reforms in the country, which was nothing but a cheat with masses because they always took votes from people by promising greater land reforms.
Jamali said that country needs drastic agriculture and land reforms for bringing socio-economic development.
He opposed corporate farming initiated in Pakistan during ex-President Pervez Musharraf’s government which was against the rights of farmers. “Some Gulf countries have purchased lands in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, that would cause water scarcity and deprive local farming community of their rights.”
“Corporate farming should be withdrawn for good of farmers and instead family farming be boosted in Pakistan for rural development and good of landless farmers.
“A comprehensive pro-poor land and agrarian reforms program should be implemented in Pakistan with immediate effect based on equity and gender justice. The parliament should be persuaded to pass legislation for protection of the peasant’s rights,” Jamali concluded.