In 2008 when Government of Pakistan launched a scheme for leasing out/sale of state owned land at a large scale to foreign investors. In order to understand the possible implications of this plan SDPI undertook a study on large scale land acquisition in Pakistan. The main purpose of this study is to analyze the existing laws and regulations on large scale land holdings and to create a Policy, Legal, and Institutional Assessment Framework (PLIAF) for Pakistan that outlines all existing procedures and details all relevant institutions that are a part of that.
Due to food security concerns, worldwide land grabbing is becoming a more frequent incidence. This study is the first of its kind in Pakistan. In the first phase of the study, a detailed draft Policy Legal Institutional Assessment Frame-work (PLIAF) was created based on readily available data from all Federal and Provincial government level sources in Pakistan. PLIAF for the first time detailed the process of land acquisition and its appropriation based on the laws of Pakistan in simple words rather than in legal terminology.
The second phase of the study detailed the instances of large-scale land grabs in Pakistan for various purposes. The commonality in all these cases that are part of this inventory is that all of them are land acquisitions either for purposes other than appropriated or acquisitions by foreign investors, as in the case of Abraaj Holdings that has bought 324,000 hectares. This study is a crucial document in the discussions on land grabs and foreign holdings in Pakistan.