Dozens of residents of Saddar on Saturday staged a protest against the police for not taking action against a gang of land grabbers in the area.
The demonstrators marched from the District Council Chowk to the office of the regional police officer where they staged a sit-in.
They accused the police of supporting some influential men in their illegal occupation of a residential plot they said was owned by Muhammad Afzal, also present on the scene.
Afzal said Saddar police had yet to register his complaint against one Nawaz Gujjar and his accomplices in the matter. He said he had obtained directions for the police from an additional sessions judge to register the case. He said a plot he owned in the area had been illegally occupied by Gujjar and Muhammad Ajmal for five days. “They beat up five men of my family for putting up resistance,” he said. He said four of the injured were still hospitalised.
Afzal alleged that the Saddar police were protecting and supporting several criminals in the area. He said cattle lifting, land-grab, organised gambling and drug peddling were reported every other day but the police had yet to arrest anyone of these.
The demonstration ended when SHO Saddar Ghulam Fareed arrived on the scene and assured the protesters of appropriate action in the matter.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the SHO rejected the allegation that he was supporting any land grabbers. He said some criminals may be still at large in the area but that did not mean that the police were supporting them. “It has become a routine for people to blame police for every ill,” he said.
He said the protesters should have lodged a complaint against him if they had any evidence of his involvement with criminal elements.
DSP Farooq Gondal told The Tribune that police were investigating Afzal’s complaint. He said an FIR would be registered after the inquiry. He said both parties (Afzal and Nawaz) had been summoned to the police station on Friday. Another meeting of the two with SP Shakir Hussain was scheduled to take place on May 3, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.