LAND REFORMS OF 1972 The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in its “Foundation Papers” and in the manifesto it issued for the elections of 1970, promised radical land reforms The party indicated that its reforms would go far beyond those introduced by the administration of President Muhammad Ayub Khan in 1959 The PPP contended that Ayub Khan’s reforms had been insignificant in scope, since they sidestepped the issue of inequality in the distribution of rural assets The PPP promised to remedy that situation once it came to powerOn 1 March 1972, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, acting as the chief martial-law administrator, promulgated Martial Law Regulation (MLR) 115 of 1972, which specified a new ceiling on land holding In spite of the promise made in the Foundation Papers, the reforms proved not to be any more radical than those undertaken in 1959; they only advanced the process of structural change in land ownership that had begun with the earlier reforms As in the case of the 1959 reforms, this effort also aimed to achieve greater equality but not a radical change in equity in land distribution A new and lower ceiling was prescribed: 150 acres for irrigated land and 300 acres for non-irrigated land The land owned in excess of these ceilings was to be confiscated by the state, without payment of compensation to the affected landlords The confiscated land was to be provided to landless peasants and small landholders without charge

A total of 13 million acres was confiscated under the reforms, of which 900,000 acres were distributed to 76,000 small cultivators See also LAND REFORMS OF 1959

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