Social Scientist. v 13, no. 148 (Sept 1985) p. 44.


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SHAIKH MUHAMMAD RASHID *

Land Reforms in Pakistan

NO THINKING man today anywhere on this globe will dispute the fact that of all reforms, the one relating to agrarian structure is the most difficult to introduce and is even more difficult to enforce. While the control of the capitalists is confined to the economy in the cities, the feudal lords hold sway in both economic field and political arena" in the country side. The land generates not only unearned income for them but is a source of their political strength as'well. They make and unmake the governments. While in the industries or commercial enterprises the trade unions of workers can compel the industrialists/capitalists to concede their demands through collective bargaining or strikes, the scatterd unorganized tenants, field workers and artisans, unaware of their rights, are, like serfs, the obedient subjects of the landlords. The feudal lords are virtually rulers in their respective estates. It is a historical truth that, inspite of being a very small minority, the feudal community ruled in different parts of the universe for centuries. Pakistan was achieved by sacrifices of the broad masses of the Muslims of India, but since its inception the apparantly insignificant minority of the feudal lords continues to be the masters of the destiny of the whole people, either in the elected governments or as allies of the JUNTA. They wormed their way even into Pakistan People's Party, which stood for socialist transformation of the society. They have been dominating in the party and its government throughout. On 5 July 1977, when Martial law was imposed, 14 out of 22 federal ministers, three out of four chief ministers of the provinces belonged to the feudal community while three out of four governors were ex-rulers of states. Obviously feudalism has deep roots with wide-spread tentacles. Unless, therefore, there is a bloody revolution, any in-roads into the feudal forts prove ephemeral; the vested interests entrenched in them succeed in upsetting the well-meaning plans of unwary reformers. The reactionary impact of the almost primeval forces which dying feudal landlordism generates, with its co-partners amongst the industrial tycoons and accomplices amongst the front line bureaucracy, can be felt in all its fierceness by those engaged in the task of implementing Land Reforms .The terrific, deep-rooted resistance met in the way of Land Reforms is matched only by the very basic benefits in more-than one dimension which follow from a proper implementation

" Ex-Minister, for Land Refonxu and Chairman. Fedral Land Commission of Pakistan



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