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Pakistan Army to take over 1 million acres of govt land to cultivate food: Reports

According to a report in Nikkie Asia, Pakistan's army is seizing vast tracts of land held by the government in order to cultivate food for the country's impoverished people. The action has raised worries about the military's "pervasive presence" in a nation dealing with economic collapse.

The Pakistani army, which has controlled the nation for nearly half of its independent history, is accustomed to serving as both the country’s protector and its governing body.

The armed force is now preparing to don a new hat in an effort to rescue the nation from its prolonged financial crisis. According to a report in Nikkie Asia, Pakistan’s army is seizing vast tracts of land held by the government in order to cultivate food for the country’s impoverished people. The action has raised worries about the military’s “pervasive presence” in a nation dealing with economic collapse, though.

The plan calls for the army to purchase up to one million acres (405,000 hectares) of land in the Punjab province of Pakistan. That is almost three times as big as Delhi. Better crop yields and water savings have been promised by the plan’s supporters. In light of declining foreign exchange reserves and rising commodity prices, Pakistan urgently needs this.

According to documents, the soldiers would be given leases for up to 30 years to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and crops like wheat, cotton, and sugar cane. Amounting 20% of the revenue made from the sale of the crops will be set aside for agricultural research and development. Reports state that the rest will be divided equally between the army and state government.

The plan calls for the army to purchase up to one million acres (405,000 hectares) of land in the Punjab province of Pakistan. That is almost three times as big as Delhi. Better crop yields and water savings have been promised by the plan’s supporters. In light of declining foreign exchange reserves and rising commodity prices, Pakistan urgently needs this.

According to documents, the soldiers would be given leases for up to 30 years to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and crops like wheat, cotton, and sugar cane. Amounting 20% of the revenue made from the sale of the crops will be set aside for agricultural research and development. Reports state that the rest will be divided equally between the army and state government.

However, the plan of action is also dealing with difficulties and criticism from numerous sources. Many people are worried that the military, which is already a strong institution, could make enormous profits from the effort to improve food security and further impoverish Pakistan’s 25 million rural landless people.

The uncertainty around the blueprint has further increased the worries. There are still many questions about the blueprint, including when the farms will be completely functional. Reports mention that the majority of the land is located in the Cholistan Desert, an area that is dry and prone to water shortages. According to the research, there may be another 110,000 acres of land available for transfer in nearby regions.

Notably, the Lahore High Court had already ordered a halt to the land transfer, but that ruling was overturned in July by another panel. It is also unclear whether some of the land handed to the army was previously farmed or held by small proprietors.

Fongrow, a member of the Fauji Foundation investment group run by retired Pakistani military commanders, downplayed the concern. According to Fongrow’s manager, the majority of the property being allotted is “barren.” As a result, there is little risk of farmers being relocated. But this begs the question of how an under-equipped army will convert a desert into fruitful agricultural land.

Furthermore, the paper stated that previous experiences with army farms have aroused concerns, with numerous instances of military owners exploiting impoverished farmers. According to a lawyer, the Pakistani government’s policy documents imply a different method of tackling food shortages.

The government believes that investing in small farmers and providing them with the required skills can increase food security. Instead, the military, which already has enormous power in Pakistan, is being handed further authority in order to promote “national development and strategic interests.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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