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For Women Land is Power

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Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI) has recently conducted a study on the Relationship of Leadership with Women Empowerment. Relationship of Landownership with Women’s Empowerment being an interested topic to study the issue is much important to discuss on different forums that whether the women play as important part in the economic development as man do. It is worth mentioning that the contribution of women towards economic development is usually undermined and ignored. Women’s efforts go unrecognized while men are usually considered to be the major contributor. The research studies in this regards have different story and perspective to tell the audience.

This current study also does the same. The researcher quotes that 60 percent food through agriculture practice is produced by women, while even 2 percent of women population of the country does not enjoy ownership of land. The Article 23 of the constitution of Pakistan states “Every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold, and dispose of property in any part of Pakistan”. It further guarantees the “Rights to property and equality of citizen as fundamental rights”. The constitutional right in this regards is widely missing and unpredictable.

The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1996 has committed itself to remove discrimination against women through legislative and administrative measures. Despite of national and international commitments Pakistan had neglected to assess and provide access to the right of women towards the land ownership. The study done by PDI is of its significance to find out the righteous way to facilitate the women how the women led economy reacts on the landlessness issue.

It was found through scientific analysis that the land ownership results in empowerment among deprived women segments of society especially at family and community level. The land ownership has resulted into increased value of decisions and opinions, among all the factors women has increased household income and improved assets.

The study recommends acknowledging land ownership system at policy and institutional level. The study says “Formulation of National Land Policy is one of the key steps towards sustainable land governance in Pakistan. It should represent the ultimate land governance process. All major land governance issues should be discussed and debated, including access to land, tenure security, control of natural resources, women’s land rights, institutional roles and responsibilities, resolution of disputes, etc. All stakeholders should be involved in the identification of issues and potential solutions”. About the land policy it says “Many countries including Pakistan do not have a comprehensive land policy; rather, they have different policies for different types of land and other natural resources: urban, agriculture, forestry, water, etc. It is high time that Pakistan should have a comprehensive land policy. This process should be initiated in a participatory method involving all the stakeholders including the civil society, local communities, land owners and other key stakeholders”.

The study stressed on initiating news phases for land reforms. The study says “A broad-based land reform program is critical for reducing rural poverty in Pakistan, and a crucial prerequisite for improving food secu­rity in Pakistan. Of course, these land reforms must be substantive in nature—as opposed to the cosmetic ones of the past—and be accompanied by im­proved access to agricultural inputs as well as to the market. A number of studies conducted recently have also emphasized on the need of comprehensive land reforms in Pakistan to resolve the issues of lack of equity and equality in Pakistan. Even strong and real democracy in Pakistan is being linked with real land reforms in the country. The government should give serious attention on the fresh phase of land reforms and should include it in its fresh development policies and should implement it in a participatory method”.

About the land governance and management the study says that “Land governance including the policy and legal frameworks as well as institutional frameworks in Pakistan has decayed. The policies and laws need reforms and there is strong need of computerization of the land records, which is being avoided by the bureaucracy in almost all the provinces. Improving land tenure good governance of tenure can ensure that rights in land and natural resource are recognized and protected. By doing so, it helps to reduce hunger and poverty, promotes social and economic development and contributes to more sustainable urbanization. The government should take immediate steps for improving land government and management in Pakistan”.