This week, it was announced that 18,000 acres of land around Mirani dam has been leased out to a Dubai enterprise for agricultural farming. This would eventually expand to 40,000 acres. There was a time, during the Ayub era when Gwadar was bought back by Pakistan government from Oman. Now a democratic government is turning the clock back and selling the family silver. It has been reported in the daily Telegraph (of London) on October 10 that the UAE is imposing strict pre-conditions for giving financial assistance to Pakistan. Their demands include lease/sale of large areas of agricultural land in Punjab and Sindh to the UAE enterprises. Agricultural produce will be sent directly to UAE and the UAE will not pay any taxes to the Pakistan government. Looks like we will be seeing medieval loan sharks in this country again who used to lend money to the poor landowners only to grab their land. This will create new estates in our country, which will be mini-states within these new mini state. It will be difficult to apply Pakistani laws to anything happening within the new mini-states. The UAE will acquire the sort of political clout in this country that can affect future elections in Pakistan. Pakistanis must be very cautious and wary of these developments. We have been complaining about strings attached to western aid. Watch out for the strings attached to aid from our Muslim brothers. -KHALID A., UK, via e-mail, October 30.