Hunger Alert General: AHRC-HAG-001-2011
PAKISTAN: Military threatens food security of farmers by illegal land grabbing
ISSUES: Food security; peasants; right to land; false charges; militarism
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that the food security of peasants in the Punjab has been threatened by illegal land grabbing by the military for decades. The peasants have been cultivating the land from their forefathers who were asked to settle and cultivate the land in 1913. However, the military-run corporations and family members of retired military officers have gradually occupied the land without illegally. The peasants are struggling for their right to land and facing serious human rights violations including murder and false charges being laid against them whereas the Punjab government has consistently failed to protect their rights. In addition, many villagers are forced to pay money to the military under threat. It is also alleged that the military corporations have leased the land to the UAE countries. The Punjab government in associated with the military allotted some land to the villages of Okara area as a compromise instead of taking the total land back to the peasants. In 2010, the government pledged to provide the funding for housing construction as well as a school and hospital in the villages which is yet substantiated.