Thousands attends peasant rally
A three months notice have been given to
Punjab government to decide the fate of the 68000 of agriculture land
owned by Punjab government and cultivated by tenants for over 100 years.
The tenants have been demanding land ownership rights and despite
promises to do so by Benazhir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif of PMLN, the
land in question has not been allotted to the tenants.
The three month notice was given at the end
of a massive peasants rally on 29 June at Okara. The rally was organized
by Anjaman Mozreen Punjab (Punjab Tenants Association) on the eve of the
10 years of tenants struggle for land ownership rights. Over 5000
peasants from different agriculture farms waving red flags chanted
slogans against the regime and blamed that they are poor because the
General Head Quarter of Army (GHQ) is looting the resources meant for
peasants. The army owns over 25000 acres of land in Okara and Pakpattan
districts of Punjab.
9 peasants leader lost their lives during
the 10 years of struggle. They include Mohammed Bashir of Renalakhurd
Military Farms (January 2002), Tufail Cheema of Dulmain Gunj Army
Welfare Trust Farms Depalpur (June 2002), Manzoor Theme of Khanewal Seed
Corporation Farms (June 2002), Salman Patras of Okara Military Farms
(August 2002), Baba Amir Ali of Okara Military Farms (May 2003), Zafar
Ali Cheena of Bail Gunj Army Welfare Trust Farms (May 2007), Mohammed
Abbas, Amir Ali and Baba Rahim of Kulyana Military Estate Okara (April
2009). The rally paid rich tribute the the martyres of the movement and
pledged to continue the struggle until final victory.
The rally took three hours to pass the main
roads of Okara and ended in front of Okara Press Club where the main
leaders of AMP spoke to the participants. Farooq Tariq spokesperson
Labour Party Pakistan said that the PPP and PMLN both are responsible
for not implementing the promises their leaders made while they were in
opposition to the military dictatorship of General Musharaf. He said
this was the first mass movement to challenge the military dictatorship
while it was on its height of repression. He gave a three month notice
to the Punjab government on behalf of the AMP to act positively to the
demands of the tenants or be ready for a Gherao (Picket Line) of Lahore.
We will come in thousands and will not leave Lahore until our demands
are met. We have fought the military dictatorships and we will not
accept the unconcerned attitude of the present civilian government. Mehr
Abdul Sattar general secretary of AMP told the charges participants of
the rally that the movement will not end until our demands are met. We
want them to fulfill the promises that have been made to us while they
were in exile. We will sit idle to let the time pass. We will act and
act decisively. He announced a mass rally of peasants in October 2010 at
Okara of 100,000 peasants. We will take oath from every one that we are
ready to die for the land ownership and will march to Lahore. We will
fix the date of the long march to Lahore at this historic conference of
Several leaders of AMP from Renalkhurd,
Kulyana Military Estate, Pakpattan, Khaenwal, Sahiwal including Azra
Shad chairperson Women Workers Help Line and Riffat Maqsood women
secretary Labour Party Pakistan Punjab chapter spoke at the rally.
There were hundreds of red flag at the
rally and over 2000 motorcycles and dozens of tractor and trolleys
brought the peasants at the rally. The Okara residents and the traders
welcome the peasant rally and showed victory signs to the protesters.
There were hundreds of peoples waving to the protesters on the way to
the main venue.
By: Maqsood Mujahid