As chances of a head-on collision between two groups threatened to spark violence in the otherwise peaceful city, the Gilgit administration cancelled more than 970 fake land allotments.
“The deputy commissioner issued a notification to this effect,” a district government spokesman told The Express Tribune.
He said that it was likely that the cases would be assigned to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation, adding that deputy commissioner Asad Zamin had been investigating the cases for eight months before issuing the notification.
The number of illegal allotments that were cancelled included 113 in Jutial, 349 in Sakwar, 140 Konodas, 28 in Skarkoi, six in Shikyote, 80 in Minawar, five in Sonikote, nine in Gilgit, four in Naikoi, 19 in Napur Basin, 16 Jagir Basin, 14 Hainzal, three in Karga, eight in Bargo, 13 in Naltar, three in Nomal and 35 in Pari Bangla.
The stretch of land in Kondos, near the central police office, became the bone of contention over recent years with groups from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds claiming their right over the land in question.
The situation recently got worse when a group defying government orders began construction on the land, sparking a reaction from another group. However, the situation was brought under control after politicians intervened to defuse the tension.
The problem was discussed during the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly as well, as lawmakers urged the chief minister to settle the issue on a priority basis, in order to avoid bloodshed in the region. On the recommendation of the assembly, an inquiry was conducted into the matter which uncovered over 913 illegal allotments.
“Corrupt officials in the land department have taken billion of rupees in bribes through these allotments,” said an official, adding that all those found responsible would be brought to book.
An official in the administration said that a committee headed by a former law secretary, had prepared a 370-page report and submitted it to the chief secretary who then sent it to the ministry of Kashmir Affairs and G-B for action. “However nothing transpired,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.