In Pakistan, the case for both land reform and, more broadly, agrarian reforms, is premised on the need to create sustainable livelihoods which is widely agreed to be the most effective method of alleviating poverty. In addition, land reform combats social injustice while achieving sustained economic growth.
Land ownership in Pakistan is highly concentrated, and, in the NWFP province for which data from the Federal Land Commission is available, this is even more evident between 1980 and 1990. This paper examines this case of land reforms in Pakistan stating that land reforms that are based on specifying a ceiling on individual land holding creates the opportunity to distribute land to landless labor and tenant farmers. However, without the strong support network of agrarian reforms, the redistribution of land per se may not create sustainable livelihoods.
The paper notes that agrarian reforms are also called for because, over the last 56 years, the trend has been and remains that of a rapid increase in the number of small farm as a proportion of total farms. As land becomes more fragmented, large landlords, who have the requisite liquidity, can add to their holdings. Thus the goal for the state is both to ensure a fair distribution of land holdings and also ensure broader agrarian reforms that ensures that small farm cultivation is both just, if under tenancy contact, and sustainable if under self-cultivation
The paper concludes by suggesting the abolition of exemptions such as for orchards, stud farms, farm machinery and gifts; land ownership ceilings should apply to households rather than to individuals; only cultivable and not wasteland should be resumed and this should be done in a timely manner; strong legal framework that support quick dispensation of appeals and to ensure the reforms are not reversed, extension and credit support will be necessary.
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