Punjab govt justifies allocation of 45,000 acres of agriculture land to Army

LAHORE: The Caretaker Punjab government led by Mohsin Naqvi has justified allocating 45,000 acres of agriculture land to Pakistan Army after feeling the heat of severe criticism questioning its mandate and merits of the decision.

45,000 acres land given to Army for ‘corporate farming’

The caretaker government, it may be recalled, had handed over at least 45,267 acres of land in three districts — Bhakkar, Khushab, and Sahiwal — of the province to the Pakistan Army for, what had been described as ‘Corporate Agriculture Farming’.

The step had drew ire from different circles from politics as well as civil society, with the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) expressing serious concern over the decision and calling it an illegal act. The PBC has warned that if the notification of awarding agriculture land to Pakistan Army is not withdrawn, the legal body would file petition in the court of law.

Army not gifted 45,000 acres of land: Punjab govt official

Justifying its decision, the caretaker government approached its like-minded media outlet, explaining that “From the onset, it should be clear that the ownership of the land remains with the Punjab government and the Pakistan army is only providing a management structure; the corporate sector and local farmers will also be involved in the cultivation process.”

The media outlet quoted anonymous official as saying that “the agreement between the Punjab government and the army was over a joint venture for cultivation of barren land, and these lands have remained uncultivated for years and need a strong management system to make them fertile. The efforts required are beyond the capacity of a group of individuals – institutional support at multiple levels is required to make these huge swathes of land productive.”

It further said “the most important feature of the agreement was that while the ownership of the land would remain with the Punjab government, the army would bear the project cost, along with the corporate sector as well as local and international investors. The project will be executed by local farmers and the army will only provide a management structure for the project.”

March 28,2023

Source: MM News

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