MQM submits land reforms bill

Published: October 13, 2010

MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar holds a copy of the ‘Redistributive Land Reforms Bill 2011’ in Islamabad. PHOTO:PPI

ISLAMABAD: 

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Tuesday submitted a land reforms bill in the National Assembly secretariat proposing limits on land holdings.

The bill proposes that each family should be allowed to own a maximum of 30 acres irrigated or 54 acres arid (barani) land. The bill does not apply to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The MQM says its draft legislation, titled “The Redistributive Land Reforms Bill, 2010,” is aimed at the eradication of hereditary ownership of agricultural land and its redistribution among tillers.

The proposed bill says that land is a free bounty of nature and that the state has been recognised as its owner, both by the Muslim and Hindu jurists.

The bill proposes that from the commencement of this act, all land within the territorial limits of provinces, whether owned or leased or occupied or tenanted or encumbered or mortgaged with or without possession by any person, be resumed in the name of the provincial government. However, it says that land that falls within the limits of ‘economic holding’, as well as that held by registered charitable trusts and waqfs, shall be exempt from redistribution.

Owners of land that is expropriated by the government shall be paid compensation at such rates per acre as may be determined by the commission, the bill says.

Under the proposed redistribution of land, each landless family of the cultivator or tenant or small land owner shall be granted land out of the land that has been seized. Priority would be given to landless cultivators followed by landless tenants and small landowners.

Families that are granted land or have retained it may form cooperative farming societies. However, cooperative farming society may be formed by not more than three families.

According to the bill, the replacement of the ancient customary law of temporary or life-time occupancy by hereditary ownership with the introduction of zamindari, ryotwari and jagirdari systems by the British colonial government created socio-political disequilibrium in society.

It also says that previous land reforms introduced in 1959, 1972 and 1977 failed to reduce the size of large estates and did not benefit more than eight per cent haris and muzaareen.

The bill said that colonisation through barrages by granting the most fertile and large tracts of land to influential absentee zamindars and jagirdars at a throwaway price created a new class of overlords who earned windfall profits through the sweat and labour of those working on their land.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • KF
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:51PM

    A Great Step by MQM.
    Now its time to get rid of this old, rotten and evil feudalism from Pakistan.Recommend

  • Oct 12, 2010 - 2:56PM

    Most of the land holdings in Pakistan are based on fake claims filed for allotment of Evacuee Property, just like the fake real estate claims. This was the unfortunate basis on which a new elite was created in Pakistan soon after 1947, by those who intentionally delayed drafting and finalising a constitution, with the ulterior motive to create for themselves a constituency. They were guilty of betraying the Quaid and his vision of a modern democratic welfare state. This resulted in an endless plunder of state lands by our civil and khaki bureaucracy, which has created a class of absentee landlords, who have failed to improve our agriculture yield. What is the MQM’s stand on this?.Recommend

  • Azeem
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:57PM

    land reforms should have happnned a long time ago. feudalism belongs to an age of the past.Recommend

  • Oct 12, 2010 - 3:10PM

    that’s the way forward, finally some good work can been seen, sick off those talking about article 6 implementation, Musharraf obsession, Zia legacy etc etc.Recommend

  • Aamir
    Oct 12, 2010 - 3:28PM

    I m afraid that it would be near to impossible to get this Bill passed fromt this national assembly of feudal lords. I just pray that MQM has done its homework for this Bill and is able to get this Bill passed from NA. This will be the greatest thing ever happened to Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Azeem
    Oct 12, 2010 - 3:39PM

    Dont get your hopes up. the landgrabbing criminals will never allow the bill to pass. I mean just think about it if land reforms are implemented they would actually have to work for a living.Recommend

  • Omer
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:14PM

    Don’t be communies. What if they pass a similar law on commercial property or residential property. Let’s see MQM proposing that law.Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:25PM

    I think this would provide great incentives to the poor, under-privileged people who live in the country side of Pakistan and who are literally being treated as the “paid-slaves” of feudal lords.

    India did its land reforms soon after Independence, this was meant to give a certain piece of land to the landlords not more than what they deserved. In Pakistan they let it slide now the situation is the “Feudal-Lords” assert power on the basis of land and they don’t even pay a dime towards tax, bottom line is they are using the land to get power and money both while the people are living below poverty-line.

    This was to be done long time ago but even today, if this bill would bring freedom to the poor masses of rural areas.

    I am also sure that the “feudal-lords” would try their best to derail this bill and to keep ruling the masses and sucking blood off Pakistan’s body.

    I congratulate MQM whole-heartedly to voice the passion of the people. Recommend

  • Faral
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:34PM

    Thats the beauty of the demacratic system…lets appreciate MQM when it do something sensible. I hope other parties come forward for betterment of Pakistan and support MQM on land reform. And surely all parties and voices should be raised if MQM also commit attrocities or go for foul play…with all the pressure and similar bills on land grabbing or law & order issues let MQM be made to play according to the rules. This is indeed a very slow process when all the forces tries to sensibly force others to play by the rules and the systems works as a selfregulating efficient maschine…please try to understand this as a very slow process and support it from every perspectiveRecommend

  • Yasir Khan
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:55PM

    Only MQM can take this kind of step in a parliament full of landlords.Recommend

  • Fahad Anis
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:57PM

    MQM is the only party which can bring revolution in a Pakistan.

    Regards,
    Fahad
    Islamabad, PakistanRecommend

  • Narejo
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:01PM

    Equitable distribution of land is basic right of evening human being. No one should inherit land. It should only be given to people who have maximum need for it.

    Since land reforms are part of basic human rights, the court should take action on this and MQM, if not sucessful in parliament, should take this matter to the court.Recommend

  • Fatima
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:05PM

    MQM is the only party in Pakistan which can change the corruption system of Pakistan, Mr. Kamal MQM Mayor of Karachi has proved with his work that they have the leadership and can do so much things in betterment of Pakistan.
    I would like to welcome you in Punjab… there always lot of propoganda against MQM but in reality MQM is the party of middle class and lower middle class the people who love Pakistan and wanted to changed the system for good.
    Regards,
    Fatima – Lahore, PakistanRecommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:14PM

    Someone has to do something about the vicious feudal lords??? You see the sugar use to sell @ 35 rupees BUT NOW it is selling for 80 rupees, and interesting thing is out of 78 sugar mills, 55 sugar mills are owned by PPP feudal-leaders.

    So I say take this Roti, Kapra aur Makan slogan and shove it. Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:16PM

    Fatima, thanks so very much and we need more people like you who love their country, identify their enemy, can do anything to save the country and follow the “sincerity” of the leadership of MQM – God Bless YouRecommend

  • Ammad Hafeez
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:16PM

    Once again, MQM shows that it’s the representative of Middle Class and Lower Class Peoples of Pakistan and this bill is against for feudal system and in favors of Poor Peoples of Pakistan. Another Great Stance of MQM :))Recommend

  • Syed Salman Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:39PM

    MQM has just submitted a historic “Land Reforms Bill” with the national assembly of Pakistan. So the final round begins against the feudal and the feudal mindset. Let’s see how soon this bill gets tabled and how soon the voting starts. Sub doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani ho jaye ga. We’ll find out soon who’s for Pakistan and who’s against it.

    Regards,
    Salman
    Karachi- PakistanRecommend

  • Syed Kashif Nawaz
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:51PM

    MQM have been proving its sensible stands for the deprived people of Pakistan since long, now, once again, it has played its positive role for the interest of the country by submitting the Lands Reforms Bill. It will help us recognize those Hypocrite Feudal who claims to be the Representatives of the People of Pakistan but in reality they are the worst exploiters of their rights.

    Lets see who support MQM’s bill which is in favour of Pakistan and its people and who oppose the same to protect their own interest. Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 6:23PM

    If we see in the perspective that since 1947, only the Feudal-Lords have gained and looted and plundered the country’s wealth at the speed of light – The looser were the people of this country belonging to Middle Class and Lower Middle Class, who got nothing. Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 12, 2010 - 6:33PM

    With this bill MQM has created a test case for other political parties.Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Oct 12, 2010 - 6:46PM

    How many people here know that land reforms have been declared illegal by the Federal Shariat Court?

    http://secularpakistan.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/land-reforms-history-legal-challenges-and-how-shariat-courts-abolished-them/Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 7:21PM

    Why on earth the landed-elite and feudal lords are not paying any taxes when the government is sucking the blood outa “salaried group” who are already feeling the crunch of everyday increase in the food stuff and power and gas.???

    This is why they have CASTLE like homes and we can not even survive for a month without our salary??? In this scenario, the “Land Reform Bill” is GREAT WORK.Recommend

  • Copper
    Oct 12, 2010 - 7:23PM

    a good move, but unlikely to be fruitful. Not only the wadairas are a powerful group in assembly but the generals also get huge land after retirement making them oppose it too. And we all know no body dare to stop them (only within Pakistan, they have been slapped several time from India though) Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 12, 2010 - 7:32PM

    excellent… now how about taxing some of those super wealthy people!!!Recommend

  • Oct 12, 2010 - 7:38PM

    Good bill. Hope, it get passed from the assembly and Senate soon which seems impossible to be honest. but Kudos to MQM for being brave enough to present it and oppose landlords and feudal system openly. I hope, things would work out in favour of MQM. Recommend

  • safdar
    Oct 12, 2010 - 7:47PM

    It is avery good step to make all pakistanis equal.Recommend

  • A simple and pure pakistani
    Oct 12, 2010 - 7:55PM

    Why isn’t the MQM against the Industrialists and their own big business man which mostly belong to MQM do not pay their taxes. why haven’t they spoke a signal word. As Mr Altaf Hussain sahib gave the example of France, i think so he lacking some thing about the history of France, The revolution came in France they were one nation one religion and it succeeded. for thata limited time only. but here in Pakistan we are distributed in ethnics groups Mohajirs, Sindhis, Pukhtoons, etc then comes religions we have been divided into many religious sects. neither the Sindhi nor the punjabis nor the pukhtoons will favor this bill. remember it. and about naming the billy after Shaheed Dr Imran Farooq Bhai the brave and courages leader doesn’t mean the blood of his can be wiped out. everyone knows who are the murderers.Brother please concentrate on improving the condition of this country and it is only by following the vision of our great leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Recommend

  • Oct 12, 2010 - 8:26PM

    How smart of the MQM, it wants to be part of a government dominated by feudals, yet wants to be seen to be defender of the rights of down trodden peasants.Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Oct 12, 2010 - 9:43PM

    Equal distribution of wealth among all the citizens should be the main agenda behind land reforms.

    Every one in the country should have own roof and this will only be possible when feudalism in the country will come to an end.

    The first thing after independence India did was to put to an end of feudalism, whereas Pakistan became the main victim of feudal lords.

    Every one in the country is equal, therefore it the right of every citizen to have equal wealth whereas wealth in Pakistan is rotating in the hands of few families and the rest of the citizens have become slaves of the rich. Recommend

  • Oct 12, 2010 - 10:28PM

    i love mqm and altaf hussain bahi kadam baraw altaf bahi hum tumhara shat ha only mqm Recommend

  • Anoop
    Oct 12, 2010 - 10:43PM

    The wordings of the law is really important. It should not be like 36 acre per person but 36 acre per family.

    Knowing how things work in Pakistan, MQM will shout it has eradicated Feudalism, when in fact there will be no changes or very little changes on the ground.Recommend

  • S
    Oct 13, 2010 - 12:48AM

    Fauj owns 9 million acres of agricultural land in Punjab alone. Is MQM willing to shed its alliance with the army or is this simply a Bill that is deigned to fail? Recommend

  • Oct 13, 2010 - 12:48AM

    63 years have passed still Pakistan known as an agriculture based economy has been the land of opportunist where over 90% of the cultivatable land is being criminally held by few dozen feudal lords, what a disgrace!! lack of education and awareness about basic rights kept deprived these 180 million people access to clean drinking water, basic health-care or basic education, the other day in coffee break we were having a discussion over political parties stance on land reforms, according to some there had been at-least two occasions in past when some kind of land reforms were initiated but in vain, some people were of the view that finally MQM has taken the bull-by-the-horns, now that MQM has officially drafted and submitted in parliament what we believe is a historic initiative, it is a collective responsibility of our parliament to have a positive and constructive debate on the bill and if required with good value addition this bill should be passed and made integral part of constitution, in my opinion alongside the parliament heavy responsibility also lies on the media and civil society as they have been very instrumental and played vital role in making things happen in the recent history of Pakistan, we must appreciate MQM & their leadership for bringing in limelight an issue which had been deliberately kept as the darkest secret by the ruling elite of this poor country, I am sure if the sitting parliamentarians unanimously support and get this bill approved they will not only win the hearts of Pakistan but will also pave a way for a new prosper and progressive Pakistan! Well Done MQM!!Recommend

  • Oct 13, 2010 - 1:21AM

    They shouldve had done that years ago. Anyways , better late than never.

    THIS is the right way. Not screaming and calling out for ‘muhibb-e-watan’ generals. This is what theyve been sent for to the parliament – working for the people and not for the generals.

    Good job MQM.Recommend

  • M.Ali
    Oct 13, 2010 - 3:55AM

    Every Political party in their manifesto said they are against feudalism.
    Now we have to see how many really against it and will go in favor of this bill.
    Bravo MQM this bill will help exposing Feudal s and their helping hands in National Assembly.Recommend

  • Khushnood Zia
    Oct 13, 2010 - 8:54AM

    This Land reform has no much to do with ending fudalsystem but to gain political vote bank. Its unpractical as it will not be passed by the assembly members more over there will be weeks if not months ending discussion in assemblies.

    It would have been better to impose high Taxes on those fudalsand failing to pay taxes should result in confescating of land. Mr. Butto did it Industrialist and Robert Mogabay has done in Zimbabwe both steps were unfair. It is like some one has 4 AC at home, 1 AC is taken from you and given to the technician who comes for the repairs reason is that you have more than 3 AC. Govt should only do if one is not paying the bill.

    Khushnood Zia
    OmanRecommend

  • IZ
    Oct 13, 2010 - 9:42AM

    MQM minister Dr Shah’s disgraceful treatment of the poor wrestler from Muzaffagar at the Commonwealth Games shows that feudalism is not just about land ownership but a mindset that has settled into the rich and powerful throughout the land, not just in rural areas.

    Land reform does not go far enough. And my question is, how is the land going to be paid for? The govt is bankrupt. MQM has presented a bill that they know is not feasible, merely for publicity’s sake. Maybe they should be taking more practical steps?Recommend

  • A
    Oct 13, 2010 - 9:51AM

    @KarachiCrisis
    Please keep your facts right!
    Pakistan is not an agricultural country now.

    Composition of the GDP
    agriculture: 20.8%
    industry: 24.3%
    services: 54.9% (2009 est.) Recommend

  • A
    Oct 13, 2010 - 9:52AM

    A good move by MQMRecommend

  • Zain
    Oct 13, 2010 - 11:19AM

    It’s a good step by the MQM, redistributing land to the farmers will stop the hold of many fuedal lords, and have a positive effect on the voting system Despite this the system of “baradari” still is there, and even though feudal lords may not be in control if this bill, that concept will continue to have some meaning.

    And apart from that this bill is not being given a whole lot of publicity where it should be. I am hopeful it will pass, but these land reform bills were even passed during Z.A Bhutto’s time, despite the fact that he himself was a landlord. But the supreme court declared it unislamic on teh grounds that land can be acquired.

    I wasn’t born at the time, but I would have asked the SC, Is it islamic to occupy land illegaly? Is islamic to steal land and drive farmers to slavery?

    Unfortunately we are an Islamic state, yet so far from Islam.Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Oct 13, 2010 - 11:59AM

    After allotting all the government lands and buildings in Karachi, Hyderabad and all big and small cities of Pakistan since 1947, the craving and appetite for more free land is still not fulfilled. MQM is now focusing on the rural land of the indigenous people.After all they have multiplied during these 63 years and require more living space.
    Soon the aboriginal people will repent their “Ansari” good will . Recommend

  • Suhail Khan
    Oct 13, 2010 - 12:45PM

    It a very brave move by MQM which they normally do every then and there and by presenting this bill they show they represent middle & poor class and I am sure (and most of you agree) that MQM will definitely bring the revolution of Middle & Poor class.

    Good work MQM and Mr. Altaf Hussian.

    Thanks

    Suhail KhanRecommend

  • Dur Muhammed
    Oct 13, 2010 - 3:46PM

    Congratulation —Altaf Hussain MQM.–Mr Farooq Sattar.
    Finaly MQM have histarical step and very good job, we hope from other
    members of parliament give support to Mr Farooq Sattar be soulder to shouder
    to him, and make share in histry . Again cogratulation .

    Dur MuhammedRecommend

  • Oct 13, 2010 - 3:53PM

    may or may not be good step. But MQM ‘s MNA are elected from Karachi and people of Karachi have must be their first priority . from last two days load shading increase from 4.5 hours to 6 hours no respect on Sunday .I can not hear one serious statements from our MNA . I am not criticize our MNA but just remind them that we are suffering lot more then other Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 13, 2010 - 4:57PM

    MIR SAHEB SAYS : How smart of the MQM, it wants to be part of a government dominated by feudals, yet wants to be seen to be defender of the rights of down trodden peasants.

    Mir Saheb, you need to know that a REVOLUTION starts by snatching the guns from the “Oppressor” and “sending” him to hell “through the help” of this gun – Mir Saheb, instead of appreciating the zest and will of MQM to give one last try to hold the existence of Pakistan, you are making fun of it – Don’t you know that MQM is the ONLY PART that has NO FEUDAL LORDS OR INDUSTRIALISTS as MNAs & MPAs.

    All of them are Middle Class people from Middle Class families….THINKRecommend

  • Syed
    Oct 13, 2010 - 7:53PM

    @ the person above referring Pakistan as a non agriculture country,
    Sir, or MAdam who ever you are,
    around atleast 70% of Pakistanis reside in rural areas who are directly or indirectly involved with agriculture.
    What does this fact tell you?!?!
    Just to oppose MQM you are trying to make up fake facts! grow up dear!Recommend

  • Sohail
    Oct 14, 2010 - 10:36AM

    Will MQM take action against those how has occupied illegally on ST plots in Karachi, and sold them out in small small plots to people? Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Oct 14, 2010 - 10:55AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Apparently much the best opinion for the betterment of poor Pakistani nation but the question is who will vote pro this resolution to approve in the National Assemble and Parliament because most of the MNAs,MPAs and Parliamentarians have thousands of acres land especially in Sindh and Punjab and who shall cut his feet with the axe himself intentionally?MQM is now just daydreaming and star gazing.MQM leaders please note that you are wasting your time.Pay your attentions on the solution of other core and burning issues of Pakistan and Pakistani nation instead of this useless and fruitless resolution.Recommend

  • A
    Oct 14, 2010 - 11:53AM

    I am just telling you the figures GDP composition.
    around atleast 70% of Pakistanis reside in rural areas “who are directly or indirectly involved with agriculture.”
    what are the basis of your perception.Recommend

  • A
    Oct 14, 2010 - 11:55AM

    I am appreciating MQM.
    May be you have not read my second comment Recommend

  • Asif Ali
    Oct 14, 2010 - 12:57PM

    Ahmer Ali, even a longest journey begins with a single step, the Muslims of India waited 90 years after 1887 to get a separate homeland??? So Bro, what’s wrong with making waves, and what’s wrong with giving it a try???

    If we don’t work together to shed the yoke of slavery & if we don’t stop the oppression, we SHALL be counted as one of them.Recommend

  • HS
    Oct 14, 2010 - 11:15PM

    @ asmat jamal, please take your racist hatred elsewhereRecommend

  • aNu
    Oct 15, 2010 - 11:00AM

    Please support MQMRecommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Oct 15, 2010 - 8:11PM

    A good step in right direction; let’s see how the parliament of the landlords (not of the poor people of Pakistan) respond to it. Good job, MQM!!!Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 16, 2010 - 1:43AM

    Congratulation —Altaf Hussain MQM.–Mr Farooq Sattar.

    Finaly MQM have histarical step and very good job, we hope from other
    members of parliament give support to Mr Farooq Sattar be soulder to shouder
    to him, even every Political party in their manifesto said they are against feudalism.
    Now we have to see how many really against it and will go in favor of this bill.
    Bravo MQM this bill will help exposing Feudal s and their helping hands in National Assembly.and make share in history
    Again cogratulation

    Asif AzizRecommend

  • Oct 16, 2010 - 1:48AM

    Only MQM can take this kind of step in a parliament full of landlords.
    Thats the beauty of the demacratic system…lets appreciate MQM when it do something sensible. I hope other parties come forward for betterment of Pakistan and support MQM on land reform. And surely all parties and voices should be raised if MQM also commit attrocities or go for foul play…with all the pressure and similar bills on land grabbing or law & order issues let MQM be made to play according to the rules. This is indeed a very slow process when all the forces tries to sensibly force others to play by the rules and the systems works as a selfregulating efficient maschine…please try to understand this as a very slow process and support it from every perspectiveRecommend

  • nadir akram
    Nov 9, 2010 - 8:57PM

    Land Lords are not bad people at all! one of my riends is Land Lord ,, i have stayed with him on his lands ,, he really helps the poor people and most of his family members do the same…it is only there are good people and bad people every where….. . Our country has an agrarian based society and if the land holings come down to 50 acres then more than 8000% tractors are going to be required… as a single person can cultivate more than 500 acres barani and 250 acres irrigated..I my self have studied agriculture from Australia so if there is no sence of security for the land owning or farming class then there is going to be no improvement in Agriculture…. Recommend

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