Seminar on the First Death Anniversary of Mohammad Bashir Ahmad (martyr)

 
30-01-2021 by: YOUNIS IQBAL

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Seminar on the First Death Anniversary of Mohammad Bashir Ahmad (martyr)
Monday, 13th January 2003
Lahore Press Club, Lahore
Speakers

Taimur Rehman, General Secretary, Mazdoor Kisan Party Punjab Shahtaj Qazalbash, Chairperson, Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights Munawar Bibi, president Anjuman Muzareen Punjab, (women wing Okara) Farouk Tariq, General Secretary, Labour Party, Pakistan Chaudhary Mohammad Ashraf, President, Anjuman Muzareen Punjab Aftab Alexander Mughal, Executive Secretary, Justice and Peace Commission, Multan Abid Hassan Minto, president, National Worker’s Party & Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan Ghulam Abbas Syal, President Anjuman Muzareen Khanewal Zone Dr. Mubashar Hassan, President PPP Shaheed Bhutto, Punjab & Ex-Central Finance Minister Anjuman Muzareen Punjab’s Secretary General.

Dr. Christopher John, organised a seminar on the first death anniversary of martyr Mr. Bashir. He was killed by the firing of Colonel Mohammad Ali and his men on the 10th of January, 2002. He was 22 years old and lost his life during the struggle to own the land, tenants have been cultivating for over the last 100 years. State has been struggling to oppress the struggle and have tried every mean to stop the tenants from raising their voices. They never even stopped firing and murdering poor and neglected tenants. As a result, 7 people from different areas of Punjab are in the list of martyrs, one of which was an infant which is very heartbreaking on the part of government.

Valuable political and social leaders addressed the seminar and talked mostly about the continuation of struggle. Faizan Bibi president of Anjuman Muzareen women wing Khanewal zone presided the seminar and the host of the seminar was Sajid Ali Baloch Incharge Media Cell Anjuman Muzareen Punjab.

The seminar started with Sajid Baloch welcoming the honourable guests and participants. He gave the introduction and background of the struggle. In that introduction he gave the details about the false cases registered against tenants which are more than 150, he also gave the details of the arrested persons.

Major points from the addresses are as follows:

Taimur Rehman
He started with the history and said that there was colonialism before the British started ruling; colonialism has some characteristics; firstly, farmer is a part of the land, secondly in colonialism, unlike capitalism; profit is earned using brutality and other unfair means. Village is independent, and has nothing to do with the market. All the profit is invested in agriculture. British changed that, and implemented the system of tax revenue. Land was treated as an individual’s property. Pakistan came into existence in 1947, and four times agricultural reforms were carried out, i.e. in 1960, 1972, 1980 and 1990. The issue between Anjuman Muzareen Punjab and Military Farms is that tenants are not accepting contract system. Tenants have started the struggle against contract “Thaiqa” because they have been working on the land for more than a century now. Tenants of all state owned farms and not only military farms should neither become land workers nor should accept the contract system.
Land reforms were carried out in 1968. Seventy five thousand people were benefited, and five million acres of land was distributed. In 1977 land reforms were performed again. More than 150 acres of land was taken by government. But now political parties have left the issue of land reforms. Now it becomes the responsibility of left wing progressive parties to raise this issue. Anjuman Muzareen Punjab has risen all by itself, no political party started it. It is a historical milestone and all progressive parties should gather and convert Anjuman Muzareen Punjab into Anjuman Muzareen Pakistan, and carry out land reforms all over Pakistan instead of keeping it limited to military farms. Which will result in a just an equality based society and capitalism shall be demolished.

Aasim Sajjad
He in his address said that the sacrifice of Basheer martyr will not go in vain. After him other tenants also lost their lives during the struggle. Anjuman Muzareen Punjab is moving towards organisational structure from a movement. State does not only mean the selection of members but actually it is about fighting for your rights. Tenants of Peerowaal, Khanewal and Sargodha came a hundred years ago. They made the land cultivatable. Farm administration tried hard to implement contract system by forming fake organisations.

Shahtaj Qazalbash
She while expressing her view said that this movement is very good and will carry on like this. Democracy is implemented, elections have taken place, and parliament is formed in the four provinces. The way we are treated, can we call this democracy? We shall not loose hope and keep on struggling. Our unity should not be manipulated and we should be aware of the games state is playing with us, because as long as we are together the state will fear us. Arrest one and free two, arrest two and free one. The participation of women has benefited the movement. They work with you in the fields as well. Women have doubled your strength. It is a good tradition. It should be sustained. Anjuman Muzareen Punjab’s struggle has grown, you will definitely get your right; you need is a longer struggle.

Munawar Bibi

She said that rangers have arrested 300 tenants from the military farms and have encircled our villages, so that no tenant can attend this seminar. No matter how brutal they become, we will face their brutalities. We are ready to fight back for another 100 years. Basheer martyr died during the struggle. We women will fight with men, rather women shall stand in the first row, we will fight first and if we die then our men will fight. Police and rangers have fired and martyred our children Basheer and Salman, and have injured many others, which are now on bed.

Farooq Tariq

Farooq Tariq said that the farmers who are struggling are neither tenants nor lessee but are owners of the land. They have cultivated the land for more than 100 years. They are not provoked by anyone, rather they have risen from the brutality and teasing of the military government. Last year we went to Renala on the memorial service of Basheer martyr. Colonel Mohammad Ali who is the murderer of Basheer Ahmad martyr thought that we would kill a few people and the movement will stop, but we will not stop until we get our right. The murder has strengthened the movement instead of stopping it. This movement has given the history of Pakistan a new chapter. The martyrs are an honour for the tenants. We don’t find any such movement in Pakistan, in which every person including men, women, and even children say “Kill us, but we will not stop”. Above all the women are an important part of the movement. The basic idea is unity because as long as the tenants are together, we shall be able to win. After the Arrest of Khushi Mohammad Dola, the movement has entered a new phase. Organising a seminar at Lahore is a big achievement and is greatly beneficial for the movement, we will have to say “Jerha wahway ohoi khaway” meaning “the one who cultivates, gets the share”.

Ch. M. Ashraf.
In his short and sweet address he emphasised on one small point that no matter what happens we shall keep on struggling till the achievement of our goal.

Aftab Alexander Mughal
He said that Anjuman Muzareen Punjab has not only finished its initial phase but has also been successful in it. It has made it clear to the authorities that we are not afraid and will not be afraid of giving any sacrifices. I feel ashamed to see the authorities are reacting. Government members have made false promises at the time of referendum and election. We have to be aware of these false promises. We shall struggle for our right because we are not afraid. Today at this seminar we demand the government to form a commission to find the reason of the martyred, give a report and punish the culprits.

Abid Hassan Minto
He said that I attended the seminar because what we have been demanding for years, tenants have practically implemented that demand. It is all over the world that the one who cultivates the land with his plough, the land is his property, and on the base of this we say that capitalism should be ended. Land should be given to farmers and taken away from landlords and this is the duty of the government. And if the government itself becomes the owner of land that tenants cultivate, then who will do it. The achievement of this goal is impossible as long as the working class does not unite. It is highly appreciated that tenants of state farms have started this struggle and have given sacrifices as well. Land is nobody’s private property but the property of nation. Tenants cultivate the land but the military farm authorities become a hurdle. There is a civil government in the country, and it comprises of a president and a prime minister, we should take our demands to them. This struggle is not only of the tenants but every oppressed person and political worker will have to fight united. National Worker’s Party promises you all sort of legislative, political and social help.

Dr. Mubashar Hassan
He in his address accepted that he has been aware of the movement for many years. He also said that he has been seeing your leaders. I have observed as how your movement has strengthened and what a beautiful role have women played in the movement. The achievement you have made, it rarely happens. You rose a slogan “Jerha Wahaway Ohoi Khaway” “the one who cultivates, gets the share”, I ask, WHY? You are tenants you cultivate, and I take the share from your income, and you say that I should leave my share? WHY? Why should I leave my share? You will say it is humanity. But for me humanity is nothing. I make the law, I have the police, and I can shoot you dead. I will not give you anything on your demand because I have power. The power of police, rangers and military. You say, the land of Okara are with us for the last 100 years, leave that land. If I leave that land then million acres of land all over Pakistan will be taken by tenants. I will not leave the land. Your slogan is small.
We don’t want the income from the land, we want rule, and we want control over the village’s police. We want our magistrate; we want the right that if the court doesn’t decide justly we change the judge. We are not struggling only for the rights, but for a government of people. Your children don’t get the basic facilities of food, education and health. What if the young, old and children die? I have lots of workers to work for me. The people you are asking for your right, why should they give you? Think about that. It is the duty of the capitalists to keep you poor because it makes them rich. We have to work for people’s government, and unite for this purpose. Your struggle is long but not too long, your strength is increasing and government is loosing its strength. I know that Okara police cannot succeed, they have themselves created this situation that rangers come. The need arose to call the rangers because you have become a big power. You will definitely succeed.

Sajid Ali Baloch read out the demands presented by Anjuman Muzareen Punjab, which are as follows:

all governmental land should be given to the tenants without any remuneration, all falsely arrested peasants should be freed immediately and all bogus cases against them should be taken back, governmental relaxations should be given on the sale of seed, water etc. and loans on easy terms and conditions should be given to the tenants, Land with the landlords should be taken back and used for agricultural purposes.

In the end Faizan Bibi said, “I started crying during the poem, Colonel Mohammad Ali, shot Bashir martyr. I am a poor woman that is why poor women from the villages came to me; I am on the stage not with my own will but due to my children. When they come back after playing, they ask me for food, and I tell them that rangers have taken away our crops, where can I give you food from? A person after a service of 25-35 years gets his remuneration and pension, but we have cultivated the land for state for the last 100 years and when we asked for our right, we got bullets from the army. We want a face that we can trust, but I see no such face that we can rely on. All those who make promises before joining the government, become typical politicians after coming in power.” She had tears in her eyes during all this address; she then ended her speech with a word of thanks.

Reported by YOUNIS IQBAL
Chairperson
Anjuman Muzareen Punjab
 
 

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