Last week, the Sindh provincial assembly passed a law unanimously that is designed to protect communal minority property and land from land grabs or purchase by the 'land-mafia'.
The bill 'Sindh Protection of Communal Properties of Minorities Bill 2013' is particularly aimed at preventing these swindlers from seizing land on the pretext that they are required for development schemes. We have noted that quite often these land mafia's have contacts within the planning and land departments. The aim of this bill is to stop such land being used for purposes they are not meant to. Any transfer, sale or purchase of communal minority lands such as graveyards will require a 'No Objection Certificate' from the provincial government, which has also promised to evict all land-grabbers from minority places of worship and graveyards. Those who break the law face up to 7 years in jail.
Unfortunately another bill against forced conversion has been delayed.
The BPCA welcomes this change in law, and hope that it works well. We encourage the Sindh provincial government agencies to enforce it rigorously, and for other regions of Pakistan, Punjab in particular, to follow the trail blazed by the Sindh province.