No to Peasants’ Eviction from Haryana Bala, Peshawar

Press Release

September 18, 2019

Kissan Action Committee Haryana Bala, Peshawar held a protest demonstration in front of the Peshawar Press Club against their eviction from their land due to the construction of the Northern Bypass. The landless farmers have been working on this land for the last 80 years, having been the first to domesticate the land making it ready for cultivation. The farmers stated that they were not only losing their livelihood but their homes, which they had built based on their labor and meager earnings. The Northern Bypass project has affected many areas, which, include Garhi Bajaz, Choli Bala, Choli Payan, Mitra, Garhi Wali Mohammad, and farmers in these areas are being threatened that they should leave or will be forcefully evicted. The compensation of agriculture land and houses has been given to big landlords with political influence, which further exacerbated the peasants’ livelihood and miseries.

The peasants stated, “ we approached various government offices and officials to seek help in this regards but no help has been provided.” According to the sources, majority of these land are common lands (shamlat) which has been converted into cultivatable land by their forefathers, and some of the land is owned by landlord Sher Alam Khan. The government has provided compensation that has been appropriated by Sher Alam Khan, even though it has been meant for the peasants. Sher Alam Khan is being backed by a local MNA, Noor Alam Khan. This is the basic reason that voices of the peasant are not been heard. False FIRs have been lodged against some farmers and some have been arrested to pressurize and silence the peasants.

Land grabbing through mega projects such as dams, highways, motorways, special economic zones and others are now a common ‘development’ strategy in many of the third world countries, all at the cost of the most marginalized communities. The government and other policymaking entities ignore the immensely negative impact of such mega-projects on local people livelihood, environment and their way of living.

The Northern Bypass project is to accelerate free trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to sources this project will connect with Khyber Bypass Economic Corridor (KPEC) for which the World Bank has provided loans; the KPEC was approved in June, 2018.

Kissan Action Committee Haryana Bala and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) demands to the Government and related institutions are:

  • All arrested related to the case must be released immediately and withdraw all false FIRs;
  • Provide alternate space for housing and construction cost in lieu of the houses demolished or to be demolished;
  • Provide alternate land for agriculture purpose for those evicted or to be evicted;
  • Stop land grabbing through development projects and special economic zones;
  • Distribution of land on just and equitable basis;

Urdu Press Release

Released by: Kissan Action Committee Haryana Bala, Peshawar and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

Not for the little guy

Tariq Mehmood
Former coordinator
Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek KPK

“The federal budget offers us nothing,” says Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek’s former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa coordinator Tariq Mehmood. His biggest concerns are about seed development and lack of support for small and landless farmers.

Farmers’ reliance on imported seeds is increasing day-by-day as indigenous seed is not being improved, he points out.

“The government is doling out lands to multinational companies but is reluctant to distribute land among landless farmers”, he complained, saying that the federal budget focuses on subsidies on tube wells which are used by large landholders and not small farmers. “Budget offers nothing for inputs availability and their prices either”, he said.

Panelists call for ending role of corporate sector in agriculture

Bureau Report March 30, 2019

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Friday demanded an end to the role of international corporate sector in agriculture, opposed the ever-increasing allotment of land to the corporate sector and called for just and equitable distribution of land among small and landless farmers in order to turn Pakistan into a real agricultural country.

The event organised at the Peshawar Press Club to commemorate the International Day of the Landless Farmers was arranged by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), and Roots for Equity in collaboration with Asian Peasant Coalition, Pesticide Action Network, Asia Pacific and International Women’s Alliance.

PKMT national coordinator Altaf Hussain, Asian Peasant Coalition’s general secretary Raja Mueeb, PKMT’s coordinator Peshawar Shehzad Baig and KP coordinator Fayyaz Ahmed were the main speakers.

They said the day highlighted the struggle of the landless farmers for genuine land reforms and food sovereignty.

They said farmers were being evicted from lands that had been tilled for generations by their ancestors. They demanded that development projects across the country, including those for special economic zones as well as land lease to investors, should be scrapped.

On the occasion, Altaf Hussain said from 2000 onwards, transnational corporations worldwide had grabbed more than 50 million hectares of land through over 1,500 agreements.

Similarly, Raja Mueeb said more than 200 deals spanning almost 20 million hectares of land were further being negotiated. Most of the land deals were being carried out in countries like Pakistan that are rich in natural resources, he pointed out.

It was pathetic that only eight per cent of these land deals were exclusively for food production, and 60 percent of these, were for export purposes, he said, adding around 70 per cent of these deals were reserved for agro-fuel production, which was only fulfilling the needs of the rich capitalist countries.

Mr Mueeb said in the past few years, China’s One Belt One Road initiative had further accelerated land grab.

Fayyaz Ahmed pointed out that various development projects for energy and infrastructure under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project had resulted in land grab across the country.

He pointed out that 1,000 acres of land had been leased in Haripur for a special economic zone, the Northern Bypass Peshawar; 6,500 acres of land was leased for growing high yield seeds to a foreign corporation in Punjab; and 140 acres of land were leased in Khairpur, Sindh for a special economic zone.

He said farmers and fishermen were losing their livelihoods due to these measures.

Shehzad Baig said small and landless farmers were facing exploitation because of unjust distribution of land, corporate agriculture. He said the government was also planning to build a cement factory in Palai area of Malakand, a greenbelt famous for its farmlands and orange orchards.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2019

Distribution of agri lands among landless farmers urged

Bureau Report March 30, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) has asked the government to take notice of the distribution of the state land to companies, allotment of state land to investors on lease and ongoing development projects.

Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, PKMT’s Asif Khan demanded equal distribution of agricultural lands among the landless farmers and working class. PKMT provincial coordinator Fayyaz Ahmad, Shahzad Baig and others were also present. He said the world day for the labourers and farmers was celebrated every year but the poor and landless labourers had been suffering since . Asif Khan said that the multinational companies had usurped 50 million acres of land throughout the world through 1591 agreements since the year 2000, which is a grave injustice to the poor farmers.