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Equal share in land, property for women urged

ISLAMABAD – Women are vital component of our society and they must be given equal share to that of men in land and property, demanded ActionAid here on Friday.
Aqsa Khan, Manager Human Rights ActionAid, while addressing a press conference said that the international organisation is all set to highlight the miseries of Pakistani women who are deprived of basic human rights including the right to land and share in property.
Extending the background details of the ActionAid’s Hunger Free Campaign, Aqsa said that the campaign was launched across Pakistan on October 15 as a move towards the perseverance of womens’right with special emphasis on rural areas. “We have launched this campaign in response to the grim food crises that has hit the world hard across the globe. Pakistani too, has experienced its gravity,” she added.

Bringing to light the dark aspects of the current global economic crises, she argued that present turmoil has had a worst impact on the peripheral spheres of the world, especially the third world where masses are prone to starvation and drought. Aqsa continued that the people in the far-flung rural areas of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP are living in extremely miserable conditions below poverty line.

“Poor masses in rural areas are forced to sell their children, while women are committing suicides. This is indeed the most horrifying sight of human distress,” she revealed besides adding that parents in that region especially Bhakkar, Shadad Kot and their adjoining areas in rural Punjab and Sindh have withdrawn their children from school, on account of their inability to pay school dues.

The rate of flour is Rs 1200 per forty kilograms while rice is being sold at Rs 120/kg in those areas. These skyrocketing rates are way beyond the reach of poor people, she added while arguing that under such poor conditions the participation of women alongside men is the dire need of the hour The Manger ActionAid cited lacunae in the pursuit of the desired objectives owing to the dominance of influential feudal lot in rural areas that has suppressed the rural women.

She lamented that among the most underprivileged and deprived areas that are suffering from acute paucity of food include the constituency of Sindh’s Minister of Agriculture. “Ironically the area of the Minister of Agriculture of the Sindh’s government falls under the most deprived regions”, she deplored while revealing that an influential landlord and a famous political figure in Bhakkar is serving as prime hurdle against the Hunger Free Campaign. Aqsa Khan asserted that ActionAid’s charter journey across Pakistan that is destined to bring rural women to limelight has received immense success and villagers have given them a warm welcome everywhere. “Poor masses have realised that they need to encourage the equal participation of women. They are standing side by side with us”, she claimed. “Even the terrible earth quake in Balochistan could not dissuade the people to come forward and they extended maximum participation,” she added.

Aqsa mentioned that ActionAid has formed a comprehensive charter regarding womens’ rights. The salient features of the charter include equality of right to land for men and women, allotment of minimum 8 acres land per family to local peasants and agriculture workers particularly women, essential measures to be taken by the state to make agrarian reforms including limitation of private landholdings and impose progressively-scaled agricultural income tax. “Besides, the legal procedure should be simple and inexpensive for women, in case they want to approach the court of law to get their right to land,” she demanded.
Source: The Nation
Date:11/8/2008

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