Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability, said on Sunday that the government had retrieved 8,085 acres of illegally occupied state land worth Rs210 billion through reclamation operations against the qabza mafia in Punjab.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Akbar also revealed the names of 36 politicians affiliated with the PML-N, who he alleged were either complicit with the land grabbers or directly part of the mafia.
پنجاب میں قبضہ گروپوں سے 200 ارب سے زائد کی زمین واگزار کروائی گئی اور اس زمین کے اکثر حصے پر ن لیگ کے اہم "سرمائے" قبضہ جما کر بیٹھے ہوئے تھے۔ pic.twitter.com/XUUxQGTa1U
— PTI (@PTIofficial) January 28, 2021
Sharing details about the Khokhar brothers, he alleged that they had illegally occupied state land of 1,000 kanals in Sheikhupura district worth Rs70 million. He further added that 45 kanals of their “spectacular [Khokhar] palace” was private property, which they had occupied and judicial proceedings were ongoing against them.
“The worth of the illegally occupied government land which was reclaimed from them by the revenue department is Rs1.5bn,” said Akbar, further adding that property of 80 kanals and four marlas, worth Rs3bn, was recovered from them two months ago.
PML-N sees the move as one of the extreme actions to punish those supporting the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The PML-N supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif telephoned Saiful Malook Khokhar and condemned the government for victimising him and his family. “I know that you (Khokhar brothers) are being punished for standing by me. I salute such loyal companions like you,” he said during the talk.
“Zulm jab (had sey) bharta hay to mit jata ha. I am seeing that time is not far when the people would stand up to the cruelty of this government,” he said.
Read More: Lahore High Court stops anti-corruption to take action against infamous Khokhar Brothers
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif also came hard on the government and tweeted: “There is a law that legalises the illegal palace of Bani Gala.
کھوکھر برادران جماعت کا بہت بڑا سرمایہ ہیں۔ ظلم و انتقام کا سامنا کیا مگر نا پیچھے ہٹے نا ہی نواز شریف سے بےوفائی کی۔ شاباش ! https://t.co/xZnkuektOw
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) January 24, 2021
And there is another law that is for the opponents whose houses are not safe”.
Infamous Khokhar brothers: Politicians or land grabbers?
It is important to note that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) summoned infamous alleged land grabbers, Khokhar brothers, on December 07, 2020 over their alleged involvement in money laundering and other criminal activities.
The FIA Lahore has issued a summon against Khokhar brothers-Saif ul Malook Khokhar, Muhammad Shafi Khokhar, and Afzal Khokhar- seeking a probe into money laundering, land grabbing, and assets beyond means allegations against them.
The notice sought an explanation from the brothers over transactions of large sums from their bank accounts. “Bring the documentary evidence along with you to prove the allegations as wrong,” the FIA said while warning them action could be taken against them over non-compliance.
It is pertinent to mention here that police had arrested the former Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Afzal Khokhar from the Supreme Court registry in Lahore in December 2018 for allegedly illegally occupying a piece of land in the provincial capital.
Afzal was released on post-arrest bail by a judicial magistrate the next day. The Excise and Taxation Department’s director-general on January 3 had provided the asset details of Khokhar brothers to the Anti-Corruption Establishment.
Read more: Punjab government launches massive assault against illegal construction
Khokhar brothers have a total of seven properties in the province. The ‘Khokhar Palace’, said the officials, belongs to Afzal Khokhar and Shafi Khokhar.