PAKISTAN:Threats to sharecroppers may disrupt wheat output

Sunday 2 November 2014

Date: 29 October 2014

Source: The International News

Type: News

Keywords: Peasants, land reform

HYDERABAD: A large number of farmers in Sanghar district may fail to sow wheat crop in the forth coming season as landlords are threatening them to leave their agriculture fields.

The situation got tensed after the murder of a peasant worker three weeks ago near Sinjhoro, a town in Sanghar, when he dared to demand equal share of crop as per the law.

The wheat sowing season will start from November 15 in Sanghar district.

Farmers say they were collecting cotton crop to use the land for the next season, when they received threats from land owners. Despite registering FIR, the police are reluctant to arrest the accused which has further caused threats to the workforce.

A crowd of peasant men and women, hailing from different villages and agriculture farms of the drought-affected Sanghar district recently held a protest demonstration to save their source of incomes as influential persons are forcing the farmer families to leave their crops.

The rally was organized jointly by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at Sinjohoro town to demand to save the lives and livelihoods of farmers, associated with their traditional work for long.

PFF Chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah, Mir Hassan Mari, Shujauddin Qureshi and Nobahar Wasan of PILER and peasant rights activists led the rally.

The peasants rally attracted a large number of activists from political parties, civil society, media and writers who expressed solidarity with the peasant families and demanded earlier arrest of the murder accused.

The rally started from Taluka hospital Sinjhoro and culminated in at main chowk of Sinjhoro.

Presently, 20 different cases of sharecroppers against landlords are registered with Tenancy Tribunals under Tenancy Act, but due to lukewarm attitude of the politically-dominated administration, the workers are yet to seek their right of crop yield. Again the murder of their comrade has disturbed the large number of farmers in the entire district.

PFF chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah said feudal lords in Sanghar district have made the lives of Haris miserable, forcing them to withdraw share of crops and leave the standing crops without any remuneration. Haris are being deprived of their share and wages and thereby suffering from starvation.

He said a large number of farmer families have so far been forcibly evicted by the landlords in Sanghar district and now they are resorting to violence which has resulted death of a peasant.

Shah expressed his concern on delay in decision on petition under Tenancy Law and the concerned officers like Assistant Commissioner is not deciding on the pending cases.

He said at least 20 tenancy petitions are currently lying in the pending with Assistant commissioner of Sinjhoro, who is head of tenancy tribunal.

He said Hari Saddam Khaskheli was killed by landlords because he was demanding his due share in the crops. Even after the lapse of 20 days the accused had not been arrested by local police. He warned Sanghar Police to arrest the accused, otherwise hundreds of farmers, fishermen and human rights activists will initiate a protest which would lead to province-wide strike against this criminal approach of law-providers.

Ghulam Ali Laghari, one of the peasants, said: “I have been cultivating a piece of land for decades but at this juncture the land owner threatens me to leave the land or face cruelty.”

“Once landlord had attacked my residence, and threatened to leave the place or face the consequences.

Owais Khaskheli said landlords are enjoying political power and they exploit the sharecropper workers.

He said a farmer Ghazi Khaskheli was seriously wounded a few days ago over the demand of fair account of crop share.

Another farmer Sadam Khaskheli, who came to Ghazi’s rescue was killed. The incident has sent a message of fear and chaos among the workforce.

They said that the tampered accounts held by the landlords have made a large number of poor Haris heavily indebted despite the fact the entire families are working as bonded labour at agriculture fields without getting proper share of crop.

Shujauddin Qureshi of PILER assured the parents of late Saddam Khaskheli of providing legal support and taking up the matter at different forums.

Mir Hassan Mari, a peasant leader said a large number of sharecroppers are unable to seek justice through tenancy tribunals in Sanghar district.###

See online : The International News

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