LAHORE, April 15: A special team of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) retrieved on Sunday a piece of precious commercial land measuring over one kanal in Liberty Market from some influential people in an exhaustive operation amid stiff resistance offered by illegal occupants.
The team led by Additional Director-General Maryam Kiyani and consisting of Director (Estate Management) Muhammad Nauman Khan, TEPA Chief Engineer Asrar Saeed and some deputy directors retrieved plot No. 89-C2 (Gulberg-III) situated along Dupatta Gali in city’s one of the main shopping malls.
The LDA team faced massive resistance by the grabbers who had been using this space for the past several years illegally. They had established a makeshift market and rented out stalls to various vendors besides setting up an illegal parking stand there to fleece market visitors.
The LDA staff removed the temporary structures set up at the site and started constructing a boundary wall around the plot when the grabbers finally gave in after over five hours of resistance.
“We first came on Saturday night to launch the operation in order to retrieve the plot in absence of illegal occupants. But, as soon as we started the demarcation, grabbers including Zeeshan Shafi, Shahid, Shakeel and Irshad appeared at once and claimed ownership of the plot,” Mr Khan told Dawn at the site.
He said the grabbers engaged the LDA officials in unnecessary discussion regarding their ownership claim and also threatened them of dire consequences.
Observing the situation as dangerous and sensitive, he said, he and his team members returned to their office.
“Later, we planned to retrieve the plot on Sunday evening after lodging a case against the grabbers. We first lodged a case against the grabbers and then reached the site with heavy workforce, equipment and police contingent to do the needful,” he added. He said when the LDA team reached the site, the illegal occupants again offered stiff resistance. They even resorted to aerial firing to frighten the officials. He said the accused were claiming ownership of plot on the basis of fake and forged documents and they had even succeeded procuring a decree from a local sessions court.
“But, the LDA won the case on March 3, 2012, from the Lahore High Court in an appeal when we proved that documents produced by the occupants were indeed forged ones,” Mr Khan said.
The police arrested three of the accused and seized arms from their possession. He said though a coordinator of the ruling party in Punjab came to the site and tried to influence him and other LDA officials to reconcile the issue, he and his team members refused to oblige the visitor.
Earlier, on an application submitted by the LDA, the police registered a case against 25 people, including 20 unidentified people, for creating hurdles in official discharge of duties, threatening LDA staff and displaying fire arms. The police also seized a vehicle owned by the grabbers and seized heavy arms from it.
A number of LDA officials including Ms Kayani, Mr Khan and Mr Saeed were present at the site till the filing of this report at around 11:00pm and were overseeing construction of a boundary wall after retrieval of the plot.
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