According to a UN report, Pakistan is one of those countries where multinationals and also some rich Muslim countries, due to their clout, are expeditiously buying agriculture lands on large scale. A rough estimate reveals that in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan alone thousands of acres of land have been bought by them. Rich and influential investors of these Muslim countries have obtained thousands of acres of land on lease as well.

In Balochistan, deals have been finalised through which 40,000 acres were sold for a sum of $ 40 million. Food Policy Research Institute says that Pakistan is in the category of those agriculture countries where land buying spree is progressing very fast. The report says that 70 percent of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas and are agricultural people. Surging population, coupled with rising food prices, has heavily burdened 84 percent of Pakistani’s financially. The report further adds that steep rise in food prices, during the last few years, has opened a new avenue for these rich Muslim countries and multinationals to invest heavily in the agriculture sector.

The investors from these countries would run huge agriculture and livestock farms using sophisticated technology rendering millions of people jobless, who are attached to agriculture in one way or another. The most alarming scenario developing in the near future might be that these investors would get total control of our agriculture sector. The report further reveals that those lands which were sold or given on lease by Pakistani rulers and big landlords, the foreign investors have spent over $ 2 billion to raise private militias for protection of these properties. The most callous feature of this whole exercise is that these rich Muslim countries would not sell any yield in Pakistan and instead export it to world market and for their own use.

It appears that the speed with which these multinationals and Muslim countries are buying our agriculture lands soon they would become real owners of majority of our lands. The people of Pakistan are intentionally being kept in the dark over this issue. If this land buying spree coupled with prevailing corruption and food hoarding continues very soon we would further lose our sovereignty. The print and electronic media is requested to highlight this issue and build public awareness to effectively confront this malicious takeover of our God gifted fertile lands.

MUBARAK ELAHI,

Islamabad, September 29.