50 kanals retrieved from ‘religious’ group

LAHORE, April 16: The Administration of Aziz Bhatti Town and local police faced on Monday a massive resistance from the members of a banned outfit in Nishat Colony while retrieving public 50 kanals from them.

Town officials with police began removing structures established at the public land in the morning when the activists launched a massive protest against the operation, alleging that the retrieved land would be distributed to PML-N workers.

Aziz Bhatti Town Administrator Aman Anwar Qudwai told Dawn the protesters pelted the officials with stones amid aerial firing.He said the massive protest and scuffles between the officials and the protesters continued for a couple of hours wherein some police officials and protesters were injured. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

He said the property was owned by the Sports Department that was to be used for the promotion of sports. Encroachers began eating up the land feet by feet; first they set up some makeshift arrangements at the place for weddings, then for Eid and funeral prayers.

“Their final plan was to occupy the land by converting it into a funeral ground and a seminary by joining it with an adjacent mosque,” he said.

The official said a few months ago the Punjab government had planned a sports ground at the place and directed the Parks Horticulture Authority, TMA and the City District Government of Lahore to begin work at the project. He said the officials had asked land grabbers to vacate the land amicably.

“When we failed to resolve the issue through dialogue, we launched the operation,” he added.

He said the retrieved land would be utilized for a sports ground, a public park, a cafeteria, recreational spots and a funeral/Eid prayer ground.

He said the officials had inflicting a blow to land grabbers.

“I have tasked the Cantonment Tehsil Sports Committee to implement the government’s development plan and ensure provision of public facilities to the people at this place,” he said, adding that a case against seven protesters had also been registered by the police.

Source: http://dawn.com/2012/04/17/50-kanals-retrieved-from-religious-group/