PKRC press release, 18 March 2023
Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC) strongly condemns the agricultural land grab by military.
PKRC demands that state owned agriculture land be distributed among the small farmers, landless peasants and tenants.
PKRC believes that the recent agreement signed by the caretaker government of Punjab to hand over at least 45,267 acres of land in three districts – Bhakkar, Khushab, and Sahiwal – to the Pakistan Army for ‘Corporate Agriculture Farming’ is a blatant violation of the rights of the small farmers and Peasants. In the recent agreement army claimed that most of it is “barren” land, which is not true. This is prime agricultural land next to the flood plains.
The military has no right to seize land from the Peasants and small farmers who have been cultivating it from decades. This move is not only illegal but also unethical, as it deprives the small farmers and Peasants of their livelihoods and threatening their right of Food Sovereignty. The government of Pakistan must take immediate action to stop this land grab and protect the rights of the Peasants and small farmers.
The land should be returned to the small farmers who have been cultivating it and government should give the necessary support to improve their livelihoods. The Government should increase the investment in small scale and community supported agriculture by providing direct access to credit and support Peasants and small farmers in their efforts to adopt agroecology.
Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee demands that the government of Pakistan and the caretaker government of Punjab immediately cancel this agreement and ensure that the land is returned to its rightful owners – the Peasants and small farmers. The government must also take steps to protect small farmers and their rights, including the right to land and resources, and ensure that they are not displaced or dispossessed in the future.
Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee calls on all small farmers, civil society organizations, and concerned citizens to join us in our struggle against land grabbing, corporate farming, and the violation of the rights of Peasants and small farmers.