The Dawn News / April 10, 2017
- The struggle for land rights to continue despite arrests and state repression
- Tenants demanding land are charged with false heinous crimes
- 80 year old tenant escaped arrest after women offered resistance
- 17 April would be celebrated as International Day of Peasants,
- Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee meeting held in Lahore
Lahore; Scores of peasant leaders from various parts of Punjab gathered today at Lahore decided to re-launch the struggle for land rights despite arrests and state repression. The meeting organized by Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee was chaired by Mian Mohammed Asharaf, a peasant leader from Lahore.
Jamila Bibi a tenant at Dera Sehghal, Muridkey city in Sheikupura district, stated that 23 male tenants of her village are in jail for the last one year. Police have charged them with false accusation of theft, robbery and other heinous crimes just to force them to vacate the land they are cultivating as tenants since 1970. Jamila Bibi told the meeting that last night an 80 year old Sardar Mohammed was dragged on the floor while we women resisted his arrest. “There is no male tenant left in their farm. Only women and children are left in the village that is without electricity for over one year” Jamila said. She told that her husband, son, sister’s husband and three cousins are in jail for over a year. They are not thieves or robbers. They are ordinary peasants trying to safe their only livelihood that is few acres of land they are cultivating for long.” Jamila told the peasant gathering.
Sugra Bibi, another peasant women leader told that her daughter was murdered last year just because she was bread winner for the family who was supporting us to resist. No one is yet arrested while most of her relatives are in jail including her son.
Noor Nabi, general secretary Anjman Mozareen Punjab and local union council chairman told that Mehr Abdul Sattar, Nadeem Ashraf, Malik Salim Jakhar, all tenants of Military Farmsd Okara and Hafiz Husnain Raza district correspondent Nawai Waqat Okara are facing several false charges because they had consistently demanded land rights at the farm. Mehr Abdul Sattar is now at Sahiwal High Security Prison for the last one month and no one is allowed to visit him. We fear he might be tortured on every day. The High Security Prison is meant for religious convicted terrorists and Mehr Abdul Sattar is an under trail prisoners. He is been accused falsely as RAW agent and links with religious terrorists.
Farooq Tariq general secretary Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee and spokesperson Awami Workers Party demand an end of state repression of tenants at different parts of Punjab. He demanded that all tenants should be granted land rights and Military Farms administration should leave this agriculture business to peasants and they should honorably withdraw from the land that tenants are cultivating for over 100 years.
Farooq Tariq said that worst sort of feudal culture is been imposed on the tenants at Dera Sehghal. Police have been used to register absolute false police cases against the ordinary tenants. He asked the chief minister to visit the village and see himself the worst sort of feudal practices implements just 20 kilometer away from Lahore.
The meeting was addressed by Mehr Ghulam Abbas, Liaqat Ali, Nasir Iqbal and others. The meeting decided to celebrate the International Day of Peasants on 17th April in Lahore. A seminar would be organized on the day to express solidarity with the arrested peasant leaders.