LAHORE – Notwithstanding the recent drum-beating against land grabbers by top cops, the City police have established 16 police stations on grabbed properties belonging to different departments, including the LDA, DHA, Health and Forest Departments.
The related departments, private victims-cum-owners of the buildings and the authorities concerned are being pressurised by the Lahore Police to forcibly transfer the occupied land in the name of the City Police. Senior Superintendent of Police Admin Tariq Abbas Qureshi via his senior subordinate of Development Branch in CCPO Office, however, said that 16 buildings were improvised as the police department itself had managed to get back these buildings from private land grabbers.
When asked it means that the police department has confiscated the land, after recovering these from land grabbers, the officer denied this by saying in fact the real owners of several plots including the government and semi-government departments had requested the Lahore Police to extend its cooperation by taking action against land grabbers.
“Yes, we are asking them (departments) to transfer the land in the name of the Lahore police because now we are used to these buildings so its quite impossible for us to vacate them,” he added. He, however, said: “There is a silent agreement between the departments and the police, and we have moved cases against the owners.”
Talking to this scribe, a senior officer of the department concerned termed the police claim as bogus and beyond the logic. “When we don’t want to sale our property then under which law these ‘so-called champions’ of justice and law and order are forcing us to transfer our land in their name,” he asked. He further complained instead of returning the property the police department was pressurising them by using illegal tactics. He said on the behest of the Lahore Police, the provincial bureaucracy, big bosses of various political parties and law enforcement agencies were also threatening them of dire consequences in this regard,” he added.
According to a document, a copy of which is available with The Nation, the City Police have divided 77 police stations in three categories including 32 in New Building “A”, six Old Buildings “B” and nine fall in Dilapidated Building in “C” category.
The document reads the City Police have taken 14 buildings on rent whereas the department has illegally occupied 16 buildings by pressurizing the owners and departments concerned. According to the details of the confiscated buildings, the building of Shafiqabad police station is owned by Forest Department, PS Lorry Adda, PS Bhatti Gate, PS Naseerabad and PS Nawankot buildings are owned by Municipal Corporation Lahore. Furthermore, PS Batapur’s building is owned by Public Works Department, PS Harbanspura building and PS Sherakot buildings are owned by provincial government. Similarly, PS Satokatla’s building by Wapda, PS Wahdat Colony and PS Nishtar Colony buildings are owned by the Health Department.
According to the document, PS Garden Town, PS Liaqatabad, PS Gulshan-e-Ravi and PS Johar Town’s buildings are owned by Lahore Development Authority (LDA) but all of the aforementioned buildings are in illegal possession of the City Police.
Informed sources in Development and Building Branch of CCPO office say none of the top cops is interested to vacate these buildings on various grounds. “Instead of vacating these buildings and handing over to their legal heirs, the top cops have been using pressurising stunts to the authorities concerned,” said sources, adding the police officers have frequently asked the LDA, DHA, Forest Dept, MCL and etc officials for ‘compromise’ and transfer the land in the name of the Building Department of the Lahore Police otherwise the issue would be lingered on till the demands are fulfilled.
On the other side, according to an official communiqué issued by CCPO office on December 18, 2011, “in its ongoing campaign against land grabbers so far 361 cases have been registered, whereas 1286 culprits have been arrested”. CCPO Ahmad Raza Tahir said that the Provincial Capital is being transformed into a city where no powerful person can usurp the property of any weaker person, and warned that strict action would be taken against an SHO in whose areas land grabbers operate.
The CCPO further stated that every civilized society creates sense of protection among its citizens, in which they are sure that nobody can illegally occupy their property.
CCPO directed the police officers to continue crackdown against land grabbers and to ensure exemplary punishment as per law to those who indulge in such illegal activities.