Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Tuesday said digital survey of around 81,209 square kilometers land had so far been carried out that revealed encroachment of some 824,210 acres of state land worth Rs 3 trillion in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
“Around 88 per cent work on [digitalization of] total land [record] in Punjab, KP and Balochistan has been completed. Out of total surveyed land, 824,210 acres of state land has been encroached whose worth is around Rs 3,000 billion as per a conservative estimate,” the minister said while addressing a news conference here.
Flanked by Special Assistant to the Prime Minster on Capital Development Authority, Ali Nawaz Awan, Farrukh said out of the total encroached land, around 675,615 acres were meant to grow forests, but occupied illegally by illegal occupants allegedly in connivance with certain people of previous governments.
He said it was unfortunate that the forest land worth over 1,800 billion was encroached in Pakistan while the entire world was stressing over growing trees to tackle the looming threat of climate changes.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was the first leader in the country’s history who was keen to ensure massive afforestation, he said referring to recent speech of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the United Nations General Assembly where he praised PM Imran Khan, asking the world leaders to follow his steps in neutralizing the climate changes threat.
Divulging details, he said 8,256 acres land of Railway worth around Rs 307 billion, 816 acres land of Civil Aviation Authority having value of around Rs 98 billion, National Highways land valuing approximately Rs 52 billion and land of Evacuee Trust worth Rs 117 billion had been encroached across the three provinces.
The minister also shared details of private land encroached by the illegal occupants in the major cities saying its record was compiled after completing the digitalization.
He said around 7,000 kanals land was encroached in Karachi having worth of around Rs 650 billion, whereas 10,500 kanals of land valuing Rs 1,500 billion was illegally occupied in Lahore and total encroachments worth Rs 500 billion came to the fore in Islamabad.
Crackdown against land grabbers continue as AC Shalimar retrieved 26 Kanals of land in Mauza Lakho Dair and handed over the possession of retrieved land to its actual owner.
Strict action will continue against Qabza Mafia and illegal constructions/encroachments. pic.twitter.com/tiQX0pfn5C
— Deputy Commissioner Lahore (@DCLahore) November 3, 2021
Total value of state and private lands encroached by the encroachers was of around Rs 5,500 billion, Farrukh noted.
He said this became possible with the help of cadastral mapping which provided exact information about recent and past status of a land through Georeferencing feature of Google.
The promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan for crucial land reforms had almost been fulfilled as the cadastral mapping of the state land was in final stages, he said adding it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that land record was being digitalized across the country through cadastral mapping.
Provincial governments from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had extended full cooperation for digitalization of land record, but the Sindh government remained committed to its tradition of creating hurdles in all those good initiatives taken by the centre.
He said the Sindh government was not cooperating deliberately in that regard which proved that the provincial authorities was somehow involved in providing support to the land grabbers.
The minister said since the record had been obtained through cadastral mapping, the relevant departments had started taking actions against the encroachments.
Responding to a query, he said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had the history of feeding lies to the public and attacking the state institutions including judiciary.
He said the PML-N had resorted to almost every trick to prove their innocence, but failed to justify purchase of flats in London by the Sharif family through ill-gotten money.