«Dissertation Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum agriculturarum (Dr. rer. agr) eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen ...»
in the case of only a single brother as an heir and no entitled descendant exists, then her brother claim for all of her property.
According to Pakistani Inheritance Law, one category of distant kindred is defined that is neither a sharer nor a residuary. These are those heirs who are entitled to the inheritance, providing that no sharer or residuary exists; for example, the daughter’s children and their children and the granddaughters' children. Sometimes, the owner gives them some property during their life as a gift or leaves some share for them as a part of his will. According to the registration act, 1967, neither the gift nor the will are documents that need to be registered;
indeed, most people make an oral will, which causes problems after their death, at the time of the distribution of property, and conflicts arise.
5.8 Land Reforms Related to Land Ownership
In 1947, at the time of the independence of Pakistan, the landownership structure was badly skewed, being based on many small-scale farms and a small number of very large estates.
Twenty five percent of the total agricultural land was covered by less than one percent of the farms, which were owned by big absentee landlords who contributed little to the production, and most of their land was ignored and uncultivated. At the other extreme, only fifteen percent of agricultural land was owned by about sixty five percent of the farmers, with a holding of even less than five acres. These two extremes generated two poles in society: one was the landlord elite with their political power, and the other was poor and uneducated farmers.
In this situation, the government recognized the need to standardize the farm size and secure the rights of landowners. For this purpose, in the land reforms of 1950s, provincial governments tried to pass a bill relating to the absentee landowners, but they had little success in the face of strong opposition and because of this, an atmosphere of uncertainty was created in the countryside and intensified the animosity between wealthy landlords and small farmers.
During the era of Ayub Khan, a special commission was formulated for the betterment of the agricultural sector, and as per recommendations of this commission, the government issued new land reform regulations in 1959. This commission suggested a maximum farm size with a ceiling of about four hundred and ninety four acres (two hundred hectares) of irrigated land and nine hundred and eighty eight acres (four hundred hectares) of non-irrigated land, for an individual owner. In the case of the small landholders, the government considered an average holding of twelve to thirteen acres (about five hectares) necessary for a family's subsistence, and if a family had about sixty acres, then that family was considered as an economically stable household. The government allowed the transfer of extra land to the family members, and because of this exemption, slightly less land was surrendered. The land reform regulations made no serious attempt to break up large estates or could not reduce the power of the landed elite. However, these reforms were helpful to reduce the poverty gap by defining upper and lower limits of the land, and by allotting more land to individuals (through parental property or by government allotment), the risk of land wastage, mismanagement, and fragmentation of farm plots was decreased.
According to the land reforms of 1972, the landownership ceiling was lowered to about twelve to thirteen acres of irrigated land and thirty acres of non-irrigated land in 1973. In the case of poor quality of land, the owner was allowed to keep more land for himself; similarly, if the owner had his own tube well and tractor, then he could claim twenty percent additional land for cultivation. The Bhutto government imposed some taxes and other charges and obtained some desirable results. Thus, in 1977, they further reduced ceilings on the private ownership of farmland to about ten acres of irrigated land and about twenty acres of nonirrigated land.
Currently, the land reforms of 1972 represent the latest regulations in Pakistan, and according to these reforms, no one can keep more than one hundred and fifty acres of irrigated land; in the case of non-irrigated land, the limit is two hundred acres. Transfer among family members and others is allowed, but the rule of compensation charges for the landowners who surrender their extra land has been abolished (this was only pertinent in the land reforms of 1959).
5.9 Summary and Conclusion
Pakistan has adopted some legislation from the legal setup of the former subcontinent IndoPak. For land administration, various acts are present in Pakistani law: for example, the Transfer of Property Act 1885, Land Registration Act 1908, Land Revenue Act 1887, Stamp Act 1892, and Land Acquisition Act 1894. These laws were amended according to the needs of the newly born country and came into force just after the independence of Pakistan.
According to the Transfer of Property Act, the people are allowed to transfer their movable and immovable property to the other persons. Various conditions are defined for the person who is authorized to make such transfer. Similarly, the Land Registration Act provides the facility for the registration of the property for secure investment in the future. The Stamp Act helps to deal with legal matters in the absence of the owner through the power of attorney.
The inheritance law helps in the distribution of assets of the owner on his death.
Although this whole setup of legislation is helpful for the people, it is extremely complicated, and generally people cannot understand it. Unawareness generates many problems, especially for those landowners who are poor and illiterate. They do not know about the legal requirements and the procedures to save their rights. Similarly, the land reforms are very old and are not greatly much supportive of the farmers and landowners with small farms or those having the problematic land.
6 Do Property Rights Matter for Land Degradation? Evidence from Selected Regions of Pakistan
6.1 Introduction Land degradation is a serious problem in general and in particular in those areas in which people hold land as a joint property. The degradation of land causes adverse effects on the agricultural sector of the economy, including all other sectors that depend on agricultural production. This problem is intensified in those economies in which agriculture shares a major contribution in GDP.
The theoretical literature provides various reasons for land degradation (Section 2.3). The major reason is the inefficient and unsustainable management of property by landowners (see, for example, Irshad 2008: 2; Banglapedia38 2006: 1). The inefficient management of land is especially significant when the land is mutually owned, and the work burden is unequally shared (see, for example, Rarieya 2009: 20).
Another important factor for land degradation is ongoing inter-family conflicts that are caused by ownership issues. Undistributed, orally distributed, and transferred lands act as the roots of serious conflicts, especially in the absence of well-performing institutions. For instance, Applegate et al. (2001: 36) notes that the burning of crops is based on land ownership conflicts; similarly Nyong and Fiki (2005: 4) point out that water conflicts are related to ownership conflicts.
In the presence of poor institutions, land property rights are over-exploited, and there is a need to understand the relationship of the individuals to their property. The lack of wellimplemented property rights creates many problems, including land degradation. Therefore, well-defined ownership rights are crucially important for the efficient use of resources (Pamir and Pamir Alai Mountains (PALM)39 2010).
The existing literature on the relationship between land degradation and property rights has mainly focused on the issue of land fragmentation (see, for example, Dejene 1997: 37). These studies have demonstrated that small pieces of land as a consequence of land fragmentation cause the over-utilization of the land, which in turn reduces soil fertility and increases land National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh PALM is the sustainable land management in the high Pamir and Pamir Alai Mountains (GEF/UNEP/UNU project).
degradation. Another factor that causes land degradation is large areas of land-holding; Niazi (2006) provides evidence for Pakistan, showing that large sizes of land-holding cause the underutilization of land. The role of property rights has been examined by (Larson and Bromley 1989: 235, Sáez 1997, 3; UNDP/UNEP/WB/WRI 2002.). These studies provide evidence that the improper implementation of property rights is a crucial factor that causes land degradation and discuss property rights such as alienation and distribution; however, they consider intergenerational distribution of land is conflict-free.
Despite the vast body of literature involving examinations of this issue, as far as I know, none of these studies incorporates the conflicts that occur between family members from the distribution of land. This Chapter takes explicitly account into family conflicts associated with land distribution. Furthermore, it asks whether property rights matter in shaping the link to a selected region of a developing country, Pakistan, with regard to one hundred and fifty households in three regions. This analysis is relevant because it provides micro level evidence for selected regions of Pakistan that are lacking in the current literature on the theme in this country. To test the hypothesis that a relationship between land degradation and land distribution rights, inheritance laws were investigated and the following research questions were posed. What are the impacts of land distribution rights implemented on land degradation in selected regions of Pakistan? Do these laws cause land degradation?
The remainder of the discussion is organized as follows. Section 6.2 mentions theoretical considerations related to the issue and briefly discuss land property rights and inheritance patterns observed in the region. In Section 6.3, the results are further discussed on the basis of theory, and finally in Section 6.4, a summary of the results is given.
The constitution of Pakistan allows right-holders to deal with their property at their own discretion. The distribution of an estate is also related to the property rights of the owner, as future security and the well being of the survivors are dependent on the distribution of the assets of the deceased. The problem of the intergenerational distribution of the property after the death of the owner is characterized as a bargaining problem (See Section 3.5) according to the distributional theory of institutional change presented by Knight (1992: 168). The main concern of this theory is to deal with the distribution of the estate of the parents, but because of power asymmetric characteristics, a clear effect on the different relationships was observed during the study. Everyone wanted to receive a maximum share in order to secure his future and to achieve a better economic position, and because of these various issues, conflicts arose between the heirs with respect to the issue of land distribution.
Similarly, in this chapter, the different groups of land owners have to be considered in the assumption of land-use rights. The issue of sustainable use and the conservation of land is directly related to its management; Bromley's theory of property regimes (1991: 22) explains the different management regimes for natural resources on the basis of rights allotted to the users (See Subsection 3.2.4).
Although, in Pakistan, land ownership rights are well defined, these rights are not taken up fully in practice, particularly in the investigated regions. Together with this improper implementation, some rights have loopholes, which may impose problems in land use and cause land degradation. I have checked these loopholes and found a relationship between property rights and land degradation, which is in agreement with the power distribution theory of Knight (1992). These issues are related to land distribution (Knight 1992). This chapter analyzes these problems in the case of family property and the distribution of the land among heirs for the study region.