QUETTA: Balochistan Assembly speaker Aslam Bhootani has claimed that the Prime Minister’s Office is pressuring the provincial government for the allotment of thousands of acres of land to UAE Sheikhs for hunting purposes.
Addressing a news conference at the Quetta Press Club here on Friday, he said the area (Lyari tehsil) whose land is being sought after is situated in his constituency in Lasbela District. He recalled that earlier the provincial government had taken back 70,000 acres of land from an institution of the federal government after efforts were made by Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani.
“Once again, the federal government wants to allot the land to Arab Sheikhs belonging to the UAE. Ironically, a summary was prepared at the PM House overnight to give out the land on lease to Arab Sheikhs who occasionally visit the area for hunting. Now they want to set up their private buildings and an airport,” he explained.
He said that he was on an official visit to India at the time of this development. Upon his return he informed the chief minister about the matter who then intervened to stop the summary from being issued. “If I will not protect the interests of the people then there is no justification for me to remain in office or act as a member of the assembly,” he maintained.
“We acknowledge the efforts made by the prime minister to address the grievances of Balochistan but it does not mean we allow anyone to sell our lands,” he added.
The speaker demanded that the federal government or the prime minister’s office should not pressurise the provincial government on this issue because the people of Balochistan would not allow anyone to own their land. He said that Balochistan was not up for sale.
He added that if any attempt was made for the allotment of lands to the Arab Sheikhs, he along with the people of Lasbela would be forced to protect their inalienable rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.
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