It is therefore necessary to speedily remove all legal and political obstacles to land reform and proceed with the adoption of the required legislation.
Meanwhile it is necessary to transfer all lands still in state possession to landless tenants – women and men both – and give ownership rights to cultivators who have been working on military and seed farms for generations.
The following 25-Point Charter of Demands gives a concrete shape to their demands:
- All state lands must be distributed among landless peasants.
- Each landless family should be given 15 acres of cultivable land or equivalent thereof.
- Women among farm workers may be given land equal in size to the men’s share.
- The 1977 land reform law should be updated.
- All obstacles to land reform should be removed and the necessary legislation adopted expeditiously.
- A five-year plan for the uplift of the agriculture sector should be launched.
- The framework for peasants’ organization must be strengthened.
- Farm workers should be allowed the right to form trade unions, in accordance with the ILO Convention No II, and fair wages guaranteed to them.
- Agricultural workers should have the same rights as admissible to industrial labour.
- The children of agricultural workers should be guaranteed free education from primary to the highest level.
- Agricultural workers, including women and children, should be guaranteed an adequate medical cover.
- The rights of agriculture workers affected by flood, war or conflicts along the borders should be fully protected.
- Small peasant proprietors’ needs must be met.
- The floor prices of agricultural produce must be linked with inflation.
- Small owner-cultivators should be given insurance cover.
- Field-to-market road links and transport facilities should be guaranteed.
- The small cultivators whose lands have been swallowed up by rivers should be given alternative lands.
- When residential colonies are raised on agricultural land the tenants should be compensated along will the land-owners.
- A judicial commission may be set up to probe fraudulent allotments and the land thus resumed should be given to original cultivators.
- Land-grabbing by landlords in Sindh and Balochistan should be stopped and housing colonies should be built for the Haris.
- Balochistan’s land record should be computerized.
- Canal water should be evenly distributed. Southern Punjab’s grievance about discrimination in water supplies should be resolved.
- Where canal water is not available the water flowing down the hill torrents should be conserved in tanks/lakes under state initiative and planning.
- The ownership of lands held under military or seed farm schemes in Okara. Khanewal and elsewhere must be transferred in favour of cultivators who have been working these lands for generations.