Land grabbing has become rampant in the federal capital, with usurpers having designs even on the properties of educational institutes while the city administration seems to be helpless.
It may be hard to believe that an expansive 210 acres of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), one of the country’s top ranked universities, has so far been encroached by land grabbers.
The university administration had sent a report to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) seeking its help for retrieval of the 210 acres being occupied by influential persons, shows documents available with The Express Tribune.
Taking note of the alarming situation, the HEC early this month sent a letter to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) requesting it to make arrangements for the demarcation of total land it handed over to QAU in 1976. “On ground demarcation is necessary to judge the claim of the university administration that such a huge chunk of land is under adverse possession of land grabbers and consequently to take action against them,” said the HEC maintained.
Having received the request, the CDA chairman asked the planning wing of the authority to conduct the demarcation of the land. However, the wing has apparently expressed its inability to carry out this exercise and wants to get it done through Survey of Pakistan.
“The CDA intends to advise the HEC to ask the university to contact Survey of Pakistan for the purpose. The civic agency’s land survey division lacks resources including manpower, machinery and funds required for the demarcation process,” CDA spokesperson Asim Khichi told The Express Tribune.
The documents reveal that the university administration has repeatedly informed the authorities about this issue in the past. The first letter was written in 2006 by the QAU administration to then President General Pervez Musharraf’s chief of staff, Lt-Gen Hamid Javaid. The same year then CDA chairperson Kamran Lashari was also asked to intervene.
The administration also filed reports with the area police stations time and again about specific incidents and the people involved. An application for registration of FIR was submitted by the administration with the Secretariat police station against Sibtul Hassan, alias Sibti Shah, for encroaching on the land after physically torturing and threatening QAU’s Executive Engineer Yasinullah when he tried to intervene. Shah is the sibling of a sitting senator from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The incumbent superintendent of police in 2008 was also approached. Similarly, an application was filed in March 2009 with the same police station by the administration against Zubair and Company, as they were seen erecting concrete structures on the university premises.
“No one, the city administration, the CDA or the police, took action in response to these applications which gave rise to such activities. Today, it seems impossible to get the land vacated,” said a senior official of the university requesting anonymity as several influential politicians are involved in this encroachment.
The QAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Masoom Yasinzai, when approached for comments, was not available.
The university was established in 1967. The CDA acquired 1,709 acres and four kanals during 1967 and 1972 for the establishment of a university. The same was handed over to the university administration in 1976.
However, the authorities failed to hand over the physical possession of the area to QUA at that time. “In the absence of physical possession, the QAU administration did not secure the area by constructing boundary walls over 1,709 acres, which resulted in encroachment of its unattended land,” said a member of the QAU administration.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2013.