KARACHI: A crowd of peasant men and women from across the drought-affected Sanghar district joined a protest rally in Sinjohoro town to demand security for the lives and livelihoods of the farmers on Tuesday.
The rally, jointly organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), was led by PFF chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah and Piler members Mir Hassan Mari, Shujauddin Qureshi and Nobahar Wasan, along with other peasants’ rights activists.
Shah said that the feudal lords in Sanghar district had made the lives of farmers miserable, refusing to give them their shares and forcing them to leave their crops standing in the fields without any remuneration. He added that the farmers, deprived of their share and wages, were suffering from starvation. “A large number of farming families have been forcibly evicted by the landlords as well, and now they are resorting to violence that has resulted in the death of a peasant,” he said.
Expressing his concern at the delayed decisions on pending cases under the Tenancy Law, he said that at least five petitions were currently with the Sinjhoro assistant commissioner who headed the tenancy tribunal.
According to Shah, farmer Saddam Khaskheli was killed by landlords because he had been demanding his due share from the crops. He warned Sanghar police to arrest the accused, who were still free 20 days after the incident, saying that farmers, fishermen and activists would otherwise initiate a province-wide strike.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2014.