UK-based journalist suffers at the hands of land mafia -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

UK-based journalist suffers at the hands of land mafia

LAHORE: Might is right and the new might in the country is land mafia which is grabbing the land of innocent people at a fast pace right under the nose of government. As nothing has been done to stamp out land mafia, land grabbers are now targeting oversees Pakistanis.

Although there are numerous cases in the backlog, the most recent one is of an expatriate Pakistani who brought his hard-earned money back to the country and bought a piece of land.

The ordeal started in the first week of December when Ghulam Hussain Awan, a Pakistani journalist from the UK, reached his land and found that concrete pillars that were constructed to form a boundary wall had disappeared.

This shocked Awan. Sensing alarm, he visited the land on December 9 to build a room for a watchman to keep surveillance and protect his land located in Jodho Dheer, Raiwind, seven kilometres from the residence of former prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.

The situation turned bad when a team of hooligans, backed by the land mafia, forcibly stopped the construction work. The hooligans also subjected Awaz to torture and hurled life threats. They also claimed that nobody, including “khadim-e-aala Punjab Shahbaz Sharif”, could rescue Awan, saying that they ruled the area. As the situation grew bad, police officers came to spot and instead of helping Awan, they proved to be accomplice of the gang, leaving the victim at lurch.

On the pretext of avoiding a brawl, they told the journalist that it was better for him to discontinue the construction work. Showing more ruthlessness, they also threatened to lodge an FIR against Awan.

Police were informed about the legal documents featuring ownerships rights of land, transfer of land, copy of mutation, sale deed and local commission report for the rightful possession of property measuring five kanals and 12 marlas. The journalist further told police that criminals had not a single documentary proof to deprive him of his land.

However, the voice remained unheard as police and land mafia have already join hands. Later, the issue was also raised in CM’s Oversees Complaint Cell and the journalist sought relief at the earliest. But all went in vain. Ultimately, he knocked the door of court that issued a restraining order in his favour under Section 151 CPC on December 12.

Meanwhile, an application was submitted to Saddar Division SP (operations) on December 14, seeking help. The copy of application revealed that the applicant submitted a written request to police to provide protection to his life and wealth.

The application said that as the victim was legal owner of the land, he must be allowed to resume construction and the land mafia should be stooped from its action.

The victim said that if a UK-based senior journalist, who is also joint secretary of Pakistan Journalists Association in United Kingdom, could suffer in such a manner, “how could other oversees Pakistanis dare to invest money in Punjab, famed as territory of the Sharifs where rights of people stay protected”.

“Economy desperately needs a handsome flow of money and if such discouraging situation stands unimproved, oversees Pakistanis would bring to halt investment that is already tumbling down,” he said. He made an appeal to Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif to intervene in the matter and provide him justice and “restore the shaking confidence of oversees Pakistanis and heel the open bruises of senior journalist”.

Daily Times