Peasants at Okara district have been under siege by
Rangers and police for nearly two months. The Military Farms
management with the help para- military forces wants the peasant
to pay the “contract money”. Peasants have refused to do so. They
argue that military is not the owners of the land. That, they were
forced to sign the “contract agreement” last year. This had
changed their status from tenants to lessee.
In all tenants from 19 villages are refusing to obey the orders of
the military farms management. To force them to pay, the rangers
and police have resorted to all sort of repressive measures.
On 11th may a peasant was killed by rangers firing. Instead of
registering a murder case against the rangers, the police have
registered a murder case against the main leaders of Anjaman
Mozareen Punjab (Tenants Association Punjab). The police say that
the peasants have killed one of their own members to put the blame
of law enforcing agencies. That is non sense.
On the application of the tenants at Lahore High Court for
registration of the case, the court ordered the police to register
the tenant’s version also in the same report of the police the
Since 11th May, the rangers and police have closed down any link
to the villages. The relatives of the tenants are picked up from
any place. Those who want to visit them are taken to police
stations. The vegetable and other vendors are stopped and some
time beaten up so they should not go these villages. The rations
at villages’ small shops are near to end. The telephone lines are
cut of the most leaders of the tenants and two most revolting
villages. The canal water is been stopped. The serious ill people
can not go to hospital. That has resulted according to BBC.com
Urdu service the killing of at least four villagers. The BBC
correspondent visited the area for 24 hours and wrote some eye
opening reports on the worsening conditions of the tenants.
The local media persons are under enormous threat to write any
truth. They are often called by the rangers and are handed reports
that has to be published. One of the propaganda of the rangers is
that more and more tenants are paying the contract money. This is
normally done by picking a close relative of the tenant, beat him
up and then he is asked to call his relatives to pay the contact
amount and a press conference to say that his relative tenants is
Despite all this, the AMP is determined to press fro their
demands. Never in the history of Pakistan working class, such an
act of bravery is been shown. It is going on for nearly two years.
In over all, 8 peasants have been killed, hundreds been wounded,
and arrested. Over 106 false cases are registered against the
leadership of AMP. The main leadership is already in jail
including a member of National Committee of Labour Party Pakistan.
The writer of this article and two more leaders of AMP are banned
to enter Okara district for three months.
Almost all the opposition parties have openly supported the cause
of the tenants. Most of the newspapers in Pakistan have written
editorials against the atrocities. But there is no willingness by
the authorities to listen to peasants and solve the issue by
giving them the land they are cultivating over 100 years.
Most of the civil right organization has given them very active
support. There have been demonstrations all over the country in
favor of the peasantry by Labour Party Pakistan, Peoples Rights
Movement and other groups.
The Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights Lahore is holding a
protest camp at Charing Cross on Mall Road Lahore on Saturday 24th
May from 10 am to 4pm. Please join if you are in Lahore. Please
organize a solidarity demo in favor of the peasantry in your area
to tell the rangers that we are not spectators but will not accept
such repression of the most down trodden strata of the society.
Please send your protest letters and faxes to the following
immediately and a copy to Labour Party Pakistan
1. General Pervez Musharaf, President of Pakistan
President's House, Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Fax: 92-51-9203938 / 9211018
2. Faisal Saleh Hayat, Minister of Interior, Narcotics Division,
R- Block, Pak Secretariat, Islamabad, PAKISTAN
3. Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool, Governor of Punjab,
Governor's House, Lahore, PAKISTAN
4. Diplomatic Representatives of Pakistan in your countries.
Labour Party Pakistan
Ph: 92 42 631 51 62
Fax: 92 42 630 16 85
Mobile: 92 300 84 11 945