Tenants of Dhundi estate resist eviction

Post Source: Dawn.com – Wednesday, 16 Jun, 2010

 

By Shakeel Ahmad

MULTAN, June 15: The eviction of hundreds of Dhundi estate’s tenants was suspended on Tuesday after fierce protest and road blockade by them in Rajanpur, Dawn has learnt. Revenue Department officials aided by police faced resistance from the tenants, who also claim the ownership of 538 acres of Dhundi and Bruceaaba estates. The Lahore High Court, Multan bench, has ordered the eviction.

Peasants say they have been cultivating the land for decades as their forefathers made the barren land cultivable.

Rajanpur District Coordination Officer (DCO) Chaudhry Muhammad Amin suspended the action to avert the clash.

Hundreds of tenants led by Kisan Mazdoor Ittehad’s Rauf Lund, PML-Q’s Mian Shahid, Rohi Development Organisation’s Saifullah Masti, poet Ashiq Buzdar, Seraiki Thinkers’ Forum’s Sufi Taj Gopang and Syed Baqir Shah blocked Indus Highway for hours.

Tenants say that in 1980, then Rajanpur assistant commissioner Usama Maud allotted the land to 42 people, including his relatives and other influential people.

They said the allotment holders had tried to get the possession of land through applications to various authorities after concealing the facts. In 1994, the allotment holders had approached the Rajanpur deputy commissioner after getting decision in their favour from the Board of Revenue.

On July 27, 1994, they said, then deputy commissioner Tariq Javed Afridi in a letter to the Dera Ghazi Khan commissioner said the allotment was not legally approved.

The allotment holders moved several legal forums and courts, including the Lahore High Court, and got the land ownership.

They said that Layyah DCO Javed Iqbal, also one of the 42 allotment holders, was using his office to get the possession of the land. Tenants claim they were too poor to fight the costly litigation.

They demanded that the government allot the land to them as they had turned barren land into cultivable lush green estate.

They also alleged it was an attempt to settle the people of upper Punjab in the Seraiki region.

They said they would resist the eviction and demolition of their houses.

They demanded Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif provide them justice to them.

Tehsildar Faiz Abbas said that they had to implement the orders of the Lahore High Court.

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