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January 25, 2015

Govt urged to start third phase of land distribution among landless women


January 25, 2015

HYDERABAD: Sindh peasants’ rights activists have urged the provincial government to initiate the third phase of land distribution among landless women and reexamine the second phase, as there was violation of the process and much cry was echoed by exploited families.
The three-phase land distribution scheme was initiated by the previous PPP-led Sindh government to empower women, so they may live the secure life.
They were discussing the situation of landless haris at the meeting of ‘Sindh Land Reforms Movement’ (SLRM) at the office of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Hyderabad.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) lead the SLRM with other organisations, keeping in view since the landless families are the most vulnerable at the face of disasters, they need to be accommodated with the government scheme to donate pieces of lands to them.
The Sindh Land Reforms Movement (SLRM) Network is an alliance of the civil society organisations of Sindh that have come together with a mandate to push for structural and legislative reforms to enable rural citizens to access their constitutional rights and entitlements, particularly land rights.
Zeenia Shaukat of PILER, a writer of Nikhat Sattar, Punhal Sario of Sindhi Hari Porhiat Sangat, HRCP Taskforce Coordinator Dr Ashothama, Sindh Community Foundation head Javed Soz, hari activist Dr Hyder Malokhani, development expert Zulfiqar Halepoto, Prof Ismail Kumbhar, senior journalists Ishaq Mangrio, Mahesh Kumar, Waheed Jamali of Search, Suhail Siddiqi of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Ishak Soomro and a large numbers attended the meeting.
Sario said there are 60 million farmers in Pakistan, mostly landless and they need to be mobilised for the issue to have transparent land reforms.
He said there are smaller groups active in entire province for protecting peasants’ rights. PPP announced three phases of land allotments to the landless peasant women to empower them. The first phase

was completed unsystematically, while the second phase experienced violations in process, depriving the beneficiaries of their rights. Now, he said, the peasant rights activists and networks should take up the matter effectively with the government to initiate the third phase transparently with assuring provision of irrigation waters, seed and other facilities to the beneficiary women farmers.
“If we want to have legislation for the protecting rights of farmers, then the peasant movement should be strengthen at grassroots level at all districts and initiate the meetings with political and media peoples to form major alliance,” Sario said.
Zeenia Shaukat of PILER briefed about the network working for struggling to protect rights of rural people. The network was formed three years back during the flood 2011 while the activists realized that the landless people are vulnerable at the face of disasters and they pay more price of negligence by the government.
She also shared the verdict of appellate court, which declared the land reforms as un-Islamic after the suggestions of the provincial governments, saying “since these assemblies are dominated by the landlords, who always are hostile against the poor peasants.”
However, she accredited the SLRM initiative, whose struggle had sensitized the Sindh government to take up the matter and distribute the lands among landless women under ‘Land Reforms’ scheme. She argued that the movement should be made broader and bringing the people together to achieve the rights of oppressed people.
Zulfiqar Halepoto suggested making the linkages with the saner elements of urban and rural societies, as there are several ‘models who have contributed a lot in this regards, specially raising the voice of oppressed people in the rural areas.
All the networks and activists should be involved at meetings and designing strategy so makes the movement success.
He said urban people should own the Indus River, which feed the Karachi people. This approach may support the struggle of peasants’ rights.
The participants decided to celebrate the ‘world peasants day’ jointly with participation of all the groups and networks following the meetings for designing strategy to work together.

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