Retrieving Railways’ land: Operation launched amid tight security in Haripur

Afghan refugees given till Feb 21 to vacate land.


Muhammad Sadaqat February 17, 2012

HARIPUR:


The railway authorities launched an anti-encroachment operation on Thursday, amid tight security, razing several houses and commercial structures.


However, the occupants of Afghan basti obtained a cushion period of five days from the divisional bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC), and assured the court they would vacate the land by February 21.

In compliance of the Supreme Court’s decision, the railway authorities in Haripur had served notices to illegal occupants to vacate their illegally built structures by February 15.

However, according to Permanent Way Inspector Imtiaz Ahmed, the encroachers did not remove the structures, forcing the authorities to launch an operation.

The occupants of Afghan basti near Muhalla Railway Station, where over 45 houses have been built, were willing to offer resistance as the operation started. However, due to heavy contingent of police officials, they were only able to use abusive language.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Gulmina Bibi, an Afghan refugee, said she was not prepared to leave her house since the male members of her family were away and there was no one to help her move to a safer place.

Najeebullah, another refugee, criticised the authorities for giving them a short notice to clear the land. He added that the authorities even rejected giving 15-minutes time to shift their belongings.

Farooq Khan accused the railway authorities of discriminating against poor occupants. He claimed that the authorities had deliberately left out several concrete structures.

However, the operation was suspended when the occupants approached the PHC divisional bench and obtained permission to vacate the land by February 21.

Ahmed also confirmed the court’s decision, adding that the operation would be re-launched after five days if the occupants failed to comply with court orders.

He disclosed that nearly seven kanals of commercial land near Central Jail was cleared on the first day of operation, adding that the operation would continue from Baldhair to Havelian Railway Station on Friday (today).

According to informed sources, a total of 152,340 square feet of railways’ land from Haripur to Havelian Railway Station has been illegally occupied by influential persons and despite several warnings, they have not vacated the land.

Local people, however, claim these structures were built in connivance with the authorities, who, they said, remained silent over the issue as they were offered bribes by encroachers.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.

COMMENTS (1)

5Rivers | 9 years ago | Reply

Well! I see couple of children which definitely belong to the encroachers and must be handed over to them safely. Too sad these encroachers didn't even care for childrens. If children & families was their shield from the "crime of encroachment" shame on them. From the condition of their belonging in the picture they are financially in better condition than the poor flood victims who don't even have a source of income to buy new clothes & tv etc. If whole population of Pakistan is allowed to settle down where the wish there will be no roads to drive onto and no runway to land planes on, no land to build school or colleges or playground for health related activities. There is plenty of land to restore or develop but it's the local people that need to be educated to involve in political activity and bring a small local leader for who get government or foreign attention for funding or development. A city can only handle as much as it can safely provide living standard for, other have to live in dry river bed and pray for no rain or flood, wish-full isn't it?

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