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Land reforms of Bhutto

Z. A. Bhutto swept the elections on the riding wave of socialism. In pursuit of the economic program, reforms began to be made to attain the end and the end was equality in economic terms and empowering the small farmers. Pakistan was an agriculturist country where majority of the population used to reside in the rural area. This necessitated the introduction of land reforms. Reforming the agriculture was meant reforming economy because agriculture was the mainstay of economy and therefore reforming the society. Though Ayub khan introduced reforms but they had altogether failed to accomplish the aspired objectives. Therefore, so the land reforms were introduced in March 1974 through martial law Regulation no. 115.

The ceiling fixed for individual holdings for the irrigated land was fixed at 150 acres and that for the un-irrigated land it was fixed at 300 acres as compared to Ayub’s 500 and 1000 acres for irrigated and un-irrigated land respectively. No compensation was. Exemption given to orchard, stud forms etc. in earlier reform package was taken back to regain. However, the reforms could not produce the expected results. Therefore, second wave of land reforms had to be introduced in 1977. 100 acres and 200 acres was the ceiling for the individual land holdings for irrigated and un-irrigated land respectively. Moreover, victims were to be provided compensation and exemption given to religious holdings in previous reforms was also removed.

The reforms of 1972 resumed 1.3mn acres and 0.9mn of which was distributed among 76,000 beneficiaries. In 1977, 1.8mn acres were resumed. However, there is no denying the fact that both episodes could not fulfill the desired purpose. This failure is attributed to the lack of application of law with uniformity, and the enthusiasm was also evaporated with the passage of time due to the political exigencies. Still 30% of the total landings in Pakistan are in possession of 0.3% people.

One significant outcome of these reforms was that landed aristocracy got infuriated perceiving a threat to their well established position. Abolition of exemption on religious holdings turned religio-political group against him both these group were highly active in dethroning him.

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