Hundreds rally against expansion of police HQ
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Hundreds of residents on Saturday rallied in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, against what they called possible demolition of their homes as part of a police headquarters' expansion plan.
Participants of the protest march in the Karez neighbourhood asked the government not to embark on the expansion of the police headquarters because it would leave them homeless.
Proposed offices of the 707th police zone headquarters are being built on a piece of land belonging to local dwellers, claimed a protestor, Abdul Wahid Karezwall, a former lawmaker.
"It reflects no decency to build police stations near residential homes," said Karezwall, who advised the government to use its own land for the project.
"Police had already encroached on private land measuring more than a dozen acres by expanding their installations and now they are looking for tens of acres to usurp," the politician said, adding thousands of homes would be demolished if the expansion project went ahead.
Another protestor, Abdul Bari, told Pajhwok Afghan News he did not expect the government to come to their rescue once the demolition process began. "The government creates problems, it has never been seen as addressing people's concerns," alleged Bari, who warned of continued protests as long as the land ownership issue was not resolved.
Haji Mohammad Wali, a tribal elder who took part in the rally, blamed the zonal police chief, Brig. Gen. Asmatullah Daulatzai, for pushing the plan. He accused the police official of having forcibly seized agriculture farms, graveyards and other private property, an allegation Daulatzai denies.
The 707th police zone commander insisted the land belonged to the government and it had been acquired though a commission responsible for handling public land affairs.
Daulatzai said the current police installations were built on 12 acres of government-owned land and new constructions were underway on another 25 acres.
He said local residents knew it was government-owned land, but were misled by Karezwal, the ex-MP. The police official warned no one would be allowed to create hurdles to the execution of the project.
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