Cadastral Mapping to Police’ Baton-charge on ABAD; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

28 November, 2021

Cadastral Mapping detects Land Encroachments in Trillions

Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed detection of Rs 5.5 trillion encroachment of state land and vowed to launch an operation to retrieve it after the first phase of digitalized cadastral mapping. He also said the government faced `massive resistance` against cadastral mapping of Pakistan for digitalizing land records.

The total value of all encroached state land and those in the three major cities stood at approximately Rs5.5 trillion, whereas the land encroached in three major cities (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad) alone was valued at Rs2.63trillion.

`Results of Phase 1 survey of state lands shows why the resistance: phenomenal state land encroachment included of forest land through land mafia-political elite connivance`, Prime Minister tweeted. He also said in the press conference that with this accurate digital record the government would now take action against these land mafias and their facilitators.

Police’ Baton-Charge on ABAD

On the 26th of November 2021 police baton charged on protestors of a business community in Karachi. In that incident more than two dozen people injured, who all are the office bearers and members of Association of Builders & Developers Pakistan (ABAD). Though, according to the details police and rangers resorted to baton-charge and fired tear gas on residents and builders protesting outside Karachi’s Nasla Tower, questioning the building’s demolition on Supreme Court’s orders. But attack on a business community of the megacity with baton charge and tear gas is an unfortunate and inexcusable attempt. 

The official version of the Police regarding attack is they “resorted to baton-charge after protesters blocked the road and interfered with the work of public servants,” However, the Chairman ABAD Mohsin Shaikhani maintains the residents and members of ABAD were staging a peaceful protest when police baton-charged, hit people and used tear gas. He also added ABAD had already stopped construction activities in protest, revealing that the business community staging the protest just wanted to communicate its point of view regarding the uncertainties of building approval process. 

Supreme Court cries over Military’ Land Use

The Supreme Court in a hearing this week lashed out at the defense secretary over commercial activities and construction of housing societies on cantonment land and summoned him along with a report carrying details of decisions of all services chiefs on the matter. Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, the three-member bench took up the matter pertaining to alleged conversion of cantonment land in violation of relevant laws for hearing.

The bench observed they were making mockery of court orders passed about commercialization of the land meant for defense purposes. When the Secretary of Defense contended that there were policies, rules and regulations for cantonment and military land when the apex court confronted him how housing societies had been made on such land. The chief justice said such activities needed to be stopped, land retrieved and used for defense purpose.

Property Verification Centre Islamabad

The Islamabad administration has started this week property verification to counter land-related fraud in the city, with Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Hamza Shafgaat inaugurated the Property Verification Centre (PVC) at Facilitation Centre in the DC Office. It was a joint venture of the capital administration and Capital Development Authority, and a portal had been created having records of land and housing societies of the CDA and the capital administration. The DC also requested people to use the CityApp launched by the administration.

In a bid to ensure transparency in the real estate sector, the district administration has unveiled this very first PVC, which will help people in investing in real estate projects and housing schemes that had been verified by the DC Office and declared legal as per the laws of the country.

Forest Land Grabbing

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam remarks that negligence of previous governments and lack of ownership on their part over the last several years led to massive encroachments on the country`s resource-rich forest lands across the country. Speaking at a media briefing, Malik Amin also tells the encroached lands, currently valued at Rs 500 billion, had been converted into residential societies and commercial areas, causing irreversible environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and public health woes.

He says some 50,000 square km of land was covered in cadastral map in the four federating units while recalling that cadastral mapping was launched by the prime minister one-and-a half years ago to launch punitive and impartial action against land encroachers.

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