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Friday, June 6, 2014


Pakistan has the largest land holdings in the region. At the time of partition both Pakistan and India inherited feudal class. But India after independence made land reforms. While in Pakistan the land reforms failed to curb large individual land holdings. 
5% landlords own 64% of agricultural land

The cultivable land remained concentrated in few hands.
5 percent landlords owns 64 percent of farm land while 50.8 percent rural house hold are landless.

The largest land holdings prevails in the regions of southern Punjab, Balochistan, and rural Sindh. For example there are 74 sardars (land lords) in Baluchistan famous for their power and land holdings.

Some of the glimpses of large landholding can be seen as below.

During the nineties Ghulam Muhammad Mehr, died in 1995, was biggest landlord in Pakistan. He owned 100,000 acres of agricultural land at that time. 

Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi another landlord owned 80,000 acres of land.

According to recent declaration by Pakistani senator Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri, he owns 53,000 acres of agricultural land. The declaration states that this land is inherited land and needs to be distributed.

The family of Hina Rabbani Khar owns more than 1500 acres of land.

This sort of land holdings on one side and landlessness on other side is giving rise to disparity between rich and poor. Fair distribution of land is necessary for poverty alleviation in rural ares. Government of Field Marshal Ayyub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to make land reforms. But all three reforms failed to bring meaningful change. The reforms introduced ceiling on land holding by individuals.

When land reforms imposed ceiling on individual's land ownership, many large landowners transferred their land in the name of other family members. Owing to existence of large joint families, land reforms are bound to fail. So a workable solution can be distributing Governmental lands to poor peasants.

Distributing public land in small lots will improve productivity. Small farms produce high per acre yield than produced by farms above 5 acres. The yield per acre will increase if lands are distributed to peasants. 

related link
Ghulam Muhammad Meh
Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri
Power of land
Balochistan's 74 sardaras
Hina Rabbani Khar's family land