SDPI seminar calls for enforcing land inheritance law
ISLAMABAD: The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Thursday launched its research findings on ‘Women’s Land Rights’.
The research has been jointly funded by Actionaid-Pakistan, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, adviser to prime minister on social sector, was the chief guest.
She said state policies towards women should address their broader social-economic aspects in larger context and a briefing of parliamentary committee involving government departments should be held so that the government’s policies could take into account women’s concerns in the development agenda.
She also proposed a land record keeping/documentation system and land courts. Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Secretary Dr Faqir Hussain stressed enforcement of the inheritance law.
SDPI visiting research fellow Dr Saba Gul Khattak gave a brief presentation on the key findings of the SDPI study.
The study recommends land reforms and land redistribution with the intervention of government. “Women must be recognised as constituting a separate group and must be accorded rights. Since Shariah is the most widely accepted means of granting women the rights to own land through inheritance. An alternate option could be to bring inheritance and other family laws under a secular civil code which would enable the state to enact gender neutral laws,” the study says.
The research recommends a joint titling system to give land to landless women which would enhance women’s status and position in their families and society and would be a significant step towards acceding land rights to women.
For food security and women’s traditional agricultural knowledge, it underlines the need to preserve women’s knowledge about agricultural systems and suggests building on this knowledge to effectively deal with the present out-migration phenomenon and current global food crises which is likely to bring focus of the world economy to agriculture.
On targeting women by agricultural services as farmers, the study seeks that women should be provided extension services such as loans, credits, fertilisers, seeds etc.
There is a need to train women and equip them with the latest technologies to ensure their continued contribution to agriculture, it says.
For social protection systems and strengthening state service delivery institutions, the study highlights that the government should institute social protection systems for women and the existing legal institutions should be reformed for better accessibility, affordability, lesser complexity and improved willingness and ability for provision of justice.
In the event of a divorce, women should be provided maintenance for a minimum period of five years and there should be equal division of immovable property acquired during the validity of the marriage, the study recommends.
SDPI board of governors Chairperson HU Beg urged the strong need for a fair system of land distribution and ownership to women so that could get their due share of land and enjoy an unhindered right of control and management of their land.
The study has been jointly conducted and presented by Dr Saba Gul Khattak, Nazish Brohi, Ahmad Salim and Wajiha Anwar.