Friday, August 24, 2007

Introduce Land Ceiling

Equitable distribution of scarce resources is the key...
Land is limited and people unlimited. Land cannot increase, people go on multiplying. Arable land is still more difficult to find. That means an ever increasing demand on this scarce finite natural resource. And here we have a person or two owning thousands of acres of land. Is this fair?

The modern civilised answer is, no. More and more people should have access to these limited resources. A natural resource like land cannot be allowed to be in the hands of just a few who may and may not put it to optimum use. This may or may not contribute to national productivity. It definitely does not contribute to national revenue as they pay no taxes on agriculture.

Can land be allowed to be the fiefdom of a few? No. Why? When large tracts of land is in the hands of a few it is called hoarding. The world abhors hoarding so does Islam in no unclear terms. See the life of our prophet, what a simple life he lead. There are hundreds of Hadith that would testify to this. With one having every thing and the other nothing it creates tension in the society of haves and have not. Their results are manifest in every thing from utter lawlessness, corruption, dacoity to illiteracy, mismanagement to poor national productivity.

We cannot have a society of masters and slaves in this 21st century. It is also misnomered as the ruling class and the ruled class. In a democracy can you have masters and slaves and yet call it democracy? A ruling party and an opposition party is acceptable but not a ruling class. Give me a break.

All countries have done away with feudalism. Even the most backward of the people Egypt has also addressed this issue by abolishing land lords and the feudal system. After independence India did away with feudalism by introducing land ceiling. England did this by introducing huge death duty.

But has Pakistan taken any steps to address this anamoly? Yes there have been two attempts 1,000 acres of Ayub Khan and 300 acres by Z.A.Bhutto, the former being a little bit more successful than the later.

Now every ruling party must have in their manifesto to limit land to a maximum of 50 acres of and irrigated only say 18 acres so that more people can have land. The excess land must be taken over and distributed among the landless poor and then the Bangladesh micro-finance system introduced to help them make it a profitable business venture. Then see where the nation stands. Tall among the comity of nations.

More on this later.


mummyjaan said...

You make a very valid point.

India has an Land Ceiling Act in place, at least in the urban areas. Nobody can own vast tracts of land.

I suppose there are rules governing rural land as well, as recently some large companies were asked to explain their holdings of excess land.

It doesn't make sense to have a few people holding on to vast tracts of land (especially if it's lying vacant and not doing anything productive) when others are deprived of basic needs.

Vidrohi said...

This, my friend, is not easy in Pakistan. The Federal Shariat Court declared land reforms contrary to the teachings of Islam in 1991.

Nevertheless, the necessity of land reforms for the country to progress is beyond doubt. However, I don't see any reason why any mainstream party will take up this slogan, as they interests at most occasions are closely tied with landlord-ism.

Qazi Obaid said...

With due respect, I don’t agree with your theory of feudalism and Feudocracy. As per the land reform individual citizen can hold a land according PIU. In some part of Punjab a person can hold merely 50 acres as per the PIU of that area and in Sindh say Mirpur Khas its 240 acres

Land reform is very well in place in Pakistan but is being manipulated. A big landlord or jagirdar family do have the land as per the PIU of the area, the rest is own by their haris and servents and they hold a power of attorney even a sale deed. So legally, land reform is there but the benefit is not transferred.

Secondly, if a agriculturist landlord have excess of fund what shall he do, have a manufacturing concern of which he don’t have an experience or re-invest in agricultural activity.

Islam teaches us distribution of wealth but does not restrict a person to become wealthy.

As for the Feudocracy, I think politics is a profession like any other. You can’t expect a salary class person to become member of parliament. Consider what happen after his tenure in parliament as he loses the next election… who will employ him?

Why blame the feudal of being election a member of parliament and doing nothing for people. It’s the people who vote them and since they voted they should suffer. Even the non-feudal who are in assemblies are doing nothing for common citizen

Ali Khan said...

Islam abhors hoarding. Having large tracts of land which you cant possibly till is not yours. There are many instances when a gram of extra gold was a burden on the prophet. Islam always stood for social justice. It cant be that one has 100,000 acres of land and the other nothing. This gives rise to many problems in society as you can presently see.Why is Islam remembered when there is talk of land ceiling. They do not remember it when they are looting and committing adultery, doing corruption etc. I think the writer has made a very valid point and we must have effective land ceiling so that this feudalism goes which is the source of all law and order and daku problems. They shelter Dakus. Why should these useless people fill our assemblies both national and provincial. I do not agree with you Sir that feudalism must stay. It should not if Pakistan is to be considered a sovereign welfare state. It should not be a feudal state. Politics cannot be business. The tickets must be given to good individuals in society. NO politicians fight elections with their own money. The party gives it. Obama never had that kind of money nor McCain nor Biden nor Palin. Manmohan Singh never spent money. Mrs. Thatcher did not not did Tony Blair. If you are good, are sincere, have vision and a desire to serve, not rule, a party will give you ticket. You get elected. You should not need money to get elected. But you will need if there is not land ceiling.

Syed said...

And Sir when it can happen in India where there were was a much bigger problem, much bigger country, why can't it be in Pakistan? Are non-Muslims less selfish? When Vinoba Bhave thought about it, most said it was bullshit too. But Nehru and VB did not think so and Nehru went ahead and did it.Somebody thought somebody did. Allama thought Jinnah did. Many many big names including himself (Nehru) made that sacrifice, gave up lands and large homes. When TSunami comes it does not see who is engulfed. Its force will be so huge it will spare none.

TSunami will come dear, first start thinking what is good for the country and what is not. That is most important. Events will then take it's course. What happened with Musharraf? The idea built up. But someone has to take up. If media is allowed to take up this and latches on as they did for Musharraf, you will see in the next election who ever will offer land to people will sweep to power. It won't be bullshit any more.

Read history it is replete with such cases. Like in the body brain controls every thing similarly it is the purity of thought that will control every thing.

A Hindu big religious man did it in India. Voltair's and other thinkers writings did in France which was unthinkable. Brought a complete change in Europe not only France. In Pakistan Mr. Moududi could have played a role but he got lost in SBT. Had no vision. Just sowed seeds of division in an otherwise united Ummah.

Murtaza Moiz said...

In short, saari baato ki aik baat, we do not give preference to the country when tackling with such things, if we do than such things would never happen.