The district government has yet to initiate action against revenue officers accused of tampering with land records dating back to 1962.
An official inquiry conducted by Additional Deputy Commissioner Talat Mehmood Gondal had found Azhar Ayub Kiani, a former revenue officer (patwari), guilty of forging an inheritance mutation into a sale mutation to deprive owners of their inherited land in Gujar Khan.
The inquiry report, citing the statements of the revenue officers and the assistant commissioner, noted that the change had been made in the land records present in the patwari’s office, but it cannot be traced in old records saved in Rawalpindi.
The inquiry officer recommended criminal and departmental action against Kiani and gardawar Muhammad Ilyas and departmental action against tehsildar Malik Tariq Ameer for being inefficient.
According to sources, as many as 17 mutations were tampered with in 2011-12 while Kiani was serving as a revenue officer.
The issue came to light after a dispute ensued between Kiani and Chaudhry Jameel, another revenue officer, and the two spilled the beans about each other’s role in large-scale tampering of land records. The district coordination officer (DCO) then initiated an inquiry into the matter and assured to take “strict action” against officials found guilty.
Muhammad Yasir, one of the victims, told The Express Tribune that the report had been compiled and sent to the DCO earlier this month, but so far no action has been taken. He said fake FIRs had also been registered against several other victims in a bid to stop them from raising their voice.
Advocate Malik Khurram Shahzad, an expert on property cases, said the final authority to register all land deals is with the tehsildar, a BPS-16 officer.
“The revenue officials are easily influenced through political pressure and monetary benefits and commit irregularities in land records,” he said, adding that numerous cases of forgery have deprived land owners who go through prolonged litigations to get their ownership back .
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2012.