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«Dissertation Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum agriculturarum (Dr. rer. agr) eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen ...»

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Abdul Hameed refused to accept his brothers’ share in the property and claimed that he was the single owner of the land, as he had struggled to cultivate it. His brothers asked other family members to resolve this issue, but they did not achieve a satisfactory solution because of the strong position of Abdul Hameed within the family. The shareholders contacted the nazim of the union council and reported this matter. However, because of influential power of Abdul Hameed, the nazim also did not do anything.” The respondent also said that they could approach the Member of national assembly (MNA) of the area and ask him for justice, although the judiciary process takes too long, and they need immediate help to save their land. The respondents revealed a mix trend about selling their land, but most of them were in favor of agriculture.

In the second case study region (QR), where the land has poor agricultural qualities, the majority of households have already been shifted their business to other options, e.g., fish farming, despite the fact that the land has not been distributed. After this change in land use, they can achieve a good profit margin in comparison with the previous use. A distribution of land to other shareholders would reduce the area of the farm, which would eventually affect their returns. This is the main hurdle in distributing the land among legal heirs. On an investigation of the second respondents, most of them were interested in setting up other businesses by themselves, or, if they had a good offer for their land by an industrialist or housing societies, they would sell it.

In the third case study region (NR), where land is good for agriculture and is in production throughout the year, in those households (fifteen) where the land had not been distributed, both the parties were in favor of the cultivation of land, but the actors who had no rights wanted to be given some rights over the land; they wished to employ better techniques in order to increase the quality and output of their part of land and wanted to improve their lifestyle. In response to the question with regard to selling the land, the majority said they did not want to sell, but that, if in the future they are offered a better option involving land-use change, then they would consider that option.

In all these three cases, the main reason for the non-distribution of the land is the cultural and family tradition effect, which supports the asymmetric power of the custodian. He receives a greater share in the profit from land, which would be reduced if land was distributed. Thus, he is not in the favor of distribution. Both the groups (group of landowner1 and group of landowner2) argued that the selling of the land or land-use change is the motive of the other actor, which is a reason for land degradation.

In the case of the oral transfer of land, the shareholders make a compromise on the basis of joint cultivation but are unable to act as a socially efficient group, working for a unified purpose. Disagreement on any amalgamated decisions is the reason for conflicts and land degradation (Larson and Bromley 1989: 236). In such cases where land was partially distributed, i.e., the rights were transferred orally and partition documents were prepared by the local patwaries, the custodians were reported to use their power and their resources to gain more than their specified share in the land. They did this with the help of patwaries, who were responsible for the measurements and making partitions. These officials also knew about the actual share and the documents, but for their own benefit, they made a deal with landowners and allotted them more than their share by making some changes in the will and ferd malkiat.42 Some conflicts were extremely severe and registered in court for solution. A description of one case is given here as an example.

“A petition was filed by the widow of late Abdul Majeed Bhatti, against the respondent Abdul Rashid, who was the brother of the deceased, for the partition of the estate in the village of Jundala, District Gujrat, on 23rd of January, 2001. She claimed her husband’s 2/9 share from the joint property.

She reported that suit property was owned by Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, who was the predecessor-in-interest of both the parties and died in 1985. After his death, the property was distributed among his six descendants (three sons and three daughters) including Abdul Majeed Bhatti, who died in 1999. According to this report, each shareholder son received 2/9 and each shareholder daughter received 1/9 of the property of the late Muhammad Hussain Bhatti. However, this was joint property, and everyone received partition documents (Fard Malkiat) from the patwari.

After the death of Abdul Majeed, his widow claimed for his share for herself and his orphans, and the respondent refused to accept by saying that he had purchased the share of Abdul Majeed against some gold ornaments of the Ferd malkiat is the legal paper, issued by the patwari, which is the proof of the ownership of the land by one person.

value of Rs. 50,000. He admitted that he had no written instrument regarding this sale, which is against the law, and according to the transfer of property act 1882 Section 5 and registration act 1908 section 17, the deal was not complete.

To prove his statement, he produced the witness of his other brother and sisters in court in his favor. He also obtained some documents from the patwari, to strengthen his position.

In 2010, the case is still with the court, with the question as to whether the plaintiff has come to the court with unclean hands or the respondent is guilty remaining unresolved. Who is the owner of the share of the late Abdul Majeed?" In these regions, other conflicts (related to land distribution) causing land degradation were also observed; for example, because of the distribution of land, most of the conflicts, based on the issue of water use, were generated between baradri members. As in Shaikhupura-Kamoki region, some landowners reported that, at the time of distribution, a tube well was considered as the joint property of all shareholders, despite it being installed within the territory of only one member and internal watercourse (Khal43) passing through his plot. All shareholders undertook an unregistered agreement for the water usage and expenditure of electricity.

However, most of the members holding the tube well on their land were not actually happy with this distribution and, because of their grievances, demolished the khal and stopped the water supply to other plots; this caused sodicity on most of the land in the region. Another reported reason for land degradation arising because of family conflicts was opponents burning each other's fields. This not only represented an economic loss for the landowner, but also had negative effects on the health of soil in the form of the loss of organic matter such as carbon and nitrogen, which are essential for the productivity of soil (Fasching 2001: 2).

In the Qadirabad Dam region, people reported that land-use change was one of the main reasons of conflicts. Other reasons were similar to those in the SKR, and all these actions caused land degradation. Similarly, in the Nandipur region, people reported the nonavailability of water; this was an issue of conflict between the landowners. All three regions rely on underground water irrigation, and most of the land is cultivated through underground water via tube wells. Water provided by the irrigation system is not enough to meet the requirement of the area. The use of family tube wells to fulfill the requirement of the land is Khal is the local name of the internal watercourse.

itself problematic because of the bad social connections between family members; the cost of this conflict is the degradation of land.

In the third type of distribution, when the land was fully transferred, landowners also suffered from disputes related to land rights; mainly, these issues are based on the temporary transfer of power through contract. In this transfer, an attorney was appointed to look after the land on behalf of the actual landowner. In this category, various situations were found, as are detailed in Table 6.5.

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Source: Field Survey (2008) These types of the contracts in the form of powers of attorney have been explained in Chapter 5 under the stamp act. In the first case, in which the landowners were present in the village, they had given authority to a third party. This was the situation when these landowners were ill or were old but with no children. They transferred some of their rights according to the conditions of the contract. In the second case, the landowners were not present in the village and could not visit it frequently. They had kept only particular rights such as the right to sell the land, whereas all the remaining rights were transferred to the attorney. In the third case, the land owner was female, and cultural and societal boundaries did not allow her to deal with all matters, especially problems related to the court and all other legal issues. In the fourth case, the landowners did not live in the country, and visited their place only for short periods after long time, and it was difficult for them to deal with their land while they were not physically present. They issued a general power of attorney and authorized another person to deal with all matters concerning their land including selling and purchasing. In most of the cases, these attorneys were other family members.

In the cases of power of attorney, the majority of the landowners reported that they suffered from frauds, especially where a specific land area was defined. The landowners revealed that the attorneys took additional land during the measurement of the area, aided and abetted by the patwaries, who are responsible for land measurement at the time of transfer.

Some cases of non-payment of rent were also reported. Female executives reported that the attorneys in their case were mostly their brothers or brothers of their husbands, and they were not willing to leave the land once the contract was terminated. On the other hand, the attorneys, when questioned, argued that the landowners had transferred the rights to them, and that now they were the owners of the land. A description of one of these cases reported in the Lahore High Court is given below.

“The case was filed in Lahore High court in 2006, under the registration act 1908 Section 17 and Subsection 47, under civil procedure code, by Moeen Akhter wife of Abdul Satter against the sons of her husband from his first wife.

She sued them with regard to her property situated in Sahukimalian, in 1998, when she came to know about the fraud carried out by these sons.

She had appointed her husband’s sons as attorneys for general power of attorney for her plot with a size of twenty acres. The agreement was in writing, and, according to the agreement, all the payments from such property were supposed to be given to her. After some time, she observed that the agreement was not being executed as per contract, and that the attorneys were involved in selling, without any sale agreement with the owner. Considering herself to be a deprived owner, she sued for her rights in the civil court, but her suit was dismissed, because the opponents produced witness and documents not only for a sale agreement, which was not registered, but also proved that she had transferred her property to them, and that now they were the owners of that plot. She then appealed to the district court, the case presently being at the high court. She was still waiting for justice at the time of the survey.” During the survey, thirteen cases of conflicts were observed in the Shaikhupur-Kamoki region with regard to the transfer of power, of which eight were of sale, and the remaining five were of occupancy. Similarly, in the Qadirabad Dam region, five households reported the same situation, viz., that attorneys had sold their land, and in the Nandipur region, seven landowners were found who had problems with their attorneys (Table 6.6).

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