Harvest of Hope

Published in Newsline in May 2018

When the warm sun, that brings

Seed-time and harvest, has
returned again…

 — Longfellow

 

Asma Jahangir addressing the farmers in Okara.

As the farmers in Punjab harvested a bumper crop of wheat, on the Okara Military Farms this April, there was palpable tension in the air. Several women in each village set up camp and kept vigil on the fields, lest the men in uniform appear and demand their batai (share). For the last 19 years, the women have fought and resisted them relentlessly, along with their men, to claim the land their forefathers have tilled for a hundred years, in the hope that some day the ownership would be transferred to them as promised by three successive heads of state.

The year 2018 has brought sorrow and added to the anxieties of the farmers. Their strongest ally, Asma Jahangir, who fought with them in the courts, is no more. Meanwhile, the repression of the present incumbents has intensified. In 2023, the status of the lease of the land will change in favour of the farmers. According to the rules, if an agricultural land is tilled by the occupancy tenant for 25 years, he or she has the right to claim its ownership, Aqila Naz, finance secretary Anjuman-e-Mazarain Punjab (AMP) and president Peasant Women’s Society Pakistan, tells Newsline.

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Skilling Labour

Published in Dawn on July 26 2016

WORLD Youth Skills Day on July 15 went by quietly in Pakistan. There was no fresh resolve, nor any policy announcement by the government for ‘skills development to improve youth employment’ — the UN theme of the year — though it would have been an opportune moment to share recommendations of the task force on the national technical and vocational education and training policy the government formed in May 2014.

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Census and Labour Data

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2015

A robust national statistical system is pivotal for development, equitable growth and planning as it facilitates evidence-based policies and, judicious and timely decision-making to achieve goals set by the country.

The system comprises official bodies that gather information and statistics through surveys and censuses on diverse aspects such as the economy and labour, demography and sociology, trade and business, politics and culture, housing, health and education, etc.

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