In view of food insecurity in Pakistan and dozens of women losing their lives just to get a few kilos of flour, there was no justification of selling agricultural land to foreigners, said Dr Azra Talat Sayeed
Critics say that by seeking to solve their food shortage problem through foreign farmland acquisitions, the rich emerging economies may succeed in producing enough quantity for their populations but may in the long-term be exporting their food insecurity to other nations.
The Zardari government is on trial with respects to three developments, of which the possible lease of land to Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries, because they are of historical significance for Pakistan.
A significant percentage of the manual labour force on arable land in Pakistan is female. If we lease this land to Saudi Arabia -- a country where women are not allowed to drive cars, vote, work in public places with a namehram -- to do with as it pleases -- will there still, across the proposed acreage reportedly twice the size of Hong Kong, be room for them?
The proposals for farmland acquisitions by countries such as Saudi Arabia or Qatar are at a pre-feasibility stage and no commitment has been made so far, the government of Pakistan told the High Court of Lahore
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif postponed until October 6 the hearing of a petition challenging the proposed sale or lease of millions of acres of agriculture land to foreign countries.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the government to seriously reconsider its plan to sell land to Saudi Arabia and other foreign investors, taking into account the welfare of hundreds of thousands of peasants whose livelihood will be directly affected.