Land grabbers remain untouchable in Naya Pakistan

Islamabad: Action against land-grabbers is the top priority of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf (PTI) and Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, still landgrabbers’ mafias comprising journalists, politicians and lawyers are on the loose across Pakistan, especially in the twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Truth Tracker learnt after thorough investigations.

Common people, especially overseas Pakistanis expected that in Naya Pakistan, they would find some relief against the land grabbers but they were mistaken.

Land grabbers are flourishing in Naya Pakistan as they were in the old Pakistan despite the tall claims by the PTI government that land grabbing gangs will be dealt with an iron hand.

Truth Tracker conducted a thorough investigation about the land grabbers’ networks in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and discovered that how some of the lawyers, police officials, politicians and journalists have knitted a network to deprive common people of their properties bought by hard earned money. It is shocking to know that some media men get monthly fee from land grabbers for serving their interests courts and police stations. The land grabbers’ rackets have distributed localities and regions among themselves in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

A senior police official told Truth Tracker requesting not to be named, “The current Interior minister has a little idea about organized crimes especially land grabbers’ mafia. Gimmicks like raiding police stations in the darkness of night or suspending low-rank police officials has nothing to do with organized crime.”

He said, “It is my observation that most of the police officials who look benign and is not hostile to public are generally involved in organized crimes. Since they earn handsomely from the land-grabbers, they don’t need to fleece common public.”

A senior officer from Interior Ministry, requesting anonymity, says If police, or for that matter, the lower courts were of any help to common folks, they would not feel the need to report their cases to TV channels instead of Police stations or stage sit-in to seek attention of the guardian of the highest court.

“Judicial activism is fine but does it help without reforming the lower judiciary? I have seen in many cases that even the intervention of the highest court does not provide justice to the victims,” he said.

Farida Haroon, 65, the daughter of legendary filmmaker and distributor Ghulam Ahmed Gul, is settled abroad. She came to Pakistan a year back when her brother Fayyaz Ahmed Gul died on December 04, 2017. The very next day of his demise, his accountant, Rafiq Shah broke into his office in his commercial plaza on IJP Road Islamabad. Shah not only stole his valuables and property documents but also illegally occupied it. Later, he and his gang members used those stolen documents (they tampered them with the help of a lawyer which latter were verified by FIA) in the courts to show that Fayyaz Gul had sold the plaza to Haroon Asghar, another member of the gang. After four months of struggle dashing literally from pillar to post, finally an FIR was registered against the culprits (Rafiq Shah and Haroon Asghar).

Narrating her story, Farida Haroon said that Fayyaz Gul died from unnatural causes but police did not show any interest in solving the mystery of her death. She says that initially the family thought that her brother died a natural death. With the illegal occupation of shops at his plaza just a few days later, she recollected memories of the days when Gul died. Since the relevant doctors which her family privately approached believe that Fayyaz Gul was poisoned, the family put the blame squarely on Rafiq Shah as Fayyaz Gul ate at his place for three straight days before his death.

“I now realize why respectable people avoid to register their cases with the police as the police facilitate criminals instead of helping common people” Ms. Haroon said.

Haroon complains that the police are not cooperating with the family. So much so that an official at the Margala Police Station, where she went to file an application for registration of a murder case, ‘advised’ her that matters pertaining to illegal occupation of land were best dealt by land grabbers.  “If your property is being illegally occupied in Islamabad, don’t go to the police, hire another gang of land grabbers to get your possession back,” she quotes the police official as having said to her. “I also met Inspector General of Police in Islamabad [Sultan Azam Temuri and Jan Muhammed] and both directed their subordinates to take action, but it seems his subordinates are collaborating with the land grabbers.”

“It’s a complete mess. Its lawlessness of the highest order. I am an American citizen and if I feel so powerless, anybody can tell how others are being treated in Islamabad,” she said.

She says that another plaza owned by Gul in New Iqbal Town area was earlier sealed by the police after two parties came up with claims that it had been sold out to them by Shah. “Now I have been told that the land grabbers got ex-parte decision against my family, unsealed the plaza and occupied it” Farida Haroon added.

The family is now receiving threats to stay away from the properties. “This is happening right under the watch of Islamabad police, the most corrupt and incompetent police force I have ever seen. I had thought Islamabad would be different from other cities, but I was mistaken,” she said. The height of lawlessness is that Haroon Asghar who had illegally occupied our plaza is in jail since last September but his armed guards are still possessing our plaza illegally with the support of Police.

I visited Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi twice, met CDA Chairman, and visited the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who ordered the lower courts to dispose of the cases in 6 months but to no avail. Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised that his government would set up a task force to help overseas Pakistanis get their properties back from the land grabbers but it seems that promise will not be fulfilled in near future.

It happens only in Pakistan that one good day your legal property bought with hard-earned money is illegally occupied by land grabbers and the system that should favor you will be siding with the culprits, said Farida Haroon.

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