Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Member of WFFP in collaboration of Struggles against Land Grabbing in Pakistan

PFF is an active member of WFFP which engage on the rights of small scale fisherfolk in Pakistan has collaborated with PILER and many other organizations work on Land issue in Pakistan.

Here is the report we received from SAAPE network, which is one of the active regional alliance for eradication of poverty in the region.

Herman Kumara,

Land Reforms and Distribution of Agricultural Land Among Landless Peasants Demanded

by shuja shuja


Land Reforms and Distribution of Agricultural Land Among Landless
Peasants Demanded

KARACHI, Apr 09, 2010: Activists
of trade unions, labour organizations and non-governmental organizations on
Friday demanded to introduce land reforms and distribution of agricultural land
among landless peasants to eradicate bondage and food insecurity from Pakistan.
They identified big landholdings by feudal and landlessness a major cause of
poverty and food insecurity in the country.

They were speaking at the first
day of the two-day Consultation on ā?~Linkages between Land Rights, Food Security
and Bondageā?T organized by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and
Research (PILER) at the PILER Centre, Karachi. Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk
Forum (PFF) Mohammad Ali Shah, Senior Economist Dr Shahida Wizarat, labour
rights leader Mannu Bheel, Pakistan Food Security Coalition Representative Jabbar
Bhatti, Executive Director PILER Karamat Ali, Joint Director of PILER Zulfiqar
Shah, Dr. Ghulam Haider Malookani of Green Rural Development Organization,
Ramazan Memon of Bhandar Hari Sangant and others spoke at the day-long session.

Speaking on the occasion, PILER
Executive Director Karamat Ali said people of this country are suffering at the
hands of poverty and food insecurity due to lack of a public distribution
system. He recalled that ration system was effectively providing essential food
items to all the citizens at affordable prices, but the government abolished
this system. ā?oThis system is still being effectively practiced in India,ā?¯ he
said adding that instead Pakistan government has introduced a faulty system of
providing essential items through Utility Stores, which has failed to benefit a
major section of the population.

Mr. Ali said that though the
colonial system has been condemned, there were many good features of the governance
that the colonial rulers introduced, which were abolished after the
independence. ā?oDuring the British rule, whoever was cultivating the agricultural
land was the owner of the land. Zamindars or feudal were only collecting a
portion on behalf of the government. However, following independence,
successive governments in Pakistan did not provide land to the poor people. Feudal
became stronger, expanding their control over a majority of agricultural land.ā?¯

Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk
Forum (PFF) Mohammad Ali Shah said that without political struggle we cannot
achieve food security. ā?oUneven and unjustified distribution of resources are
creating food insecurity.ā?¯ He said that it is the duty of the state to
facilitate the provision of food to its citizens. ā?oWe have to move from food
security to food sovereignty,ā?¯ he added.

He observed that feudalism
continues to act as an obstacle to development of the country. ā?oWithout the
abolition of this system, we cannot achieve food security.ā?¯ Shah emphasized
that land reforms are the key to poverty eradication. ā?oIf land reforms are
implemented in a systematic and judicious manner, every citizen will have enough
land to overcome poverty.ā?¯ Shah also stressed that a formal movement along the
lines of a political movement, to pursue land reforms is critical to achieving
the objective of a just and even distribution of land.

Senior Economist Dr. Shahida
Wizarat presented a study in progress on food security in Pakistan. She
observed that rising inflation that is eroding real wages, water shortage, weak
planning and institutional set up linked to the production and marketing of
agricultural products, and pressure from international financial institutions
for unconstructive intervention in agricultural sector has resulted in serious
challenges in food security and access to food for the poor. She said that the
government is planning to provide uncultivable land to big corporations, which would
further deprive the poor peasants from their landholdings.

The other participants of the
consultation meeting, who are mainly working for bonded labour pointed out that
most of the rights-based organizations are focusing on the release of bonded
peasants. However, little efforts is being made for their rehabilitation or

The two day long consultation on Linkages
between Land Rights, Food Security and Bondage shall continue till April 10,

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