Balkh Kuchi families say deprived of pasture
KABUL (PAN): Kuchi families in northern Balkh province claim powerful individuals have grabbed their pasture measuring 4,500 acres of land and have been refusing to allow them to graze their sheep on the land over the past more than a decade.
The meadow in Albazar mountains is situated between two districts -- Chamtal and Sholgar -- where nomad families erect tents every spring.
Kuchi families own nearly 15,000 acres of grazing land in the two districts and one of their tribe consisting about 300 families own 450 acres of land that has been seized by powerful men over the past more than 10 years, said Mullah Taza Gul, a member of the Kuchi council in Qazal Qadooq area of Chamtal district.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News the tribe was not allowed to graze their cattle on the land that belongs to it. "Currently the Kuchis graze their nearly 1000 sheep in nearby areas along the Sancharak-Mazar-i-Sharif road in Shulgar district after powerful people cultivated crops on the land," he said.
He identified the individuals who had seized the land as Tora Qul, Qiyam, Shamsuddin, Chaman, Sahib Gul, Aluk, Ghayas, sons of Mosain, Tila Bai, Hajji Abdul, Sadruddin, sons of Bazak, Rauf Bai and others. "These individuals have political support from government officials," Taza Gul said.
He said Balkh provincial officials and some political groups supported the illegal occupants who were not allowing Kuchi families to enter their land in the area.
Another Kuchi tribesman in the area, Baz Mohammad, who owns 900 livestock, said they have been repeatedly told that Kunchi families have no right to graze their sheep on the land because it belonged to the government.
“Previously officials would ask us to show ownership documents of the land and we showed them that documents, but it did not work," he said.
He questioned if the land belonged to the government then why should not the Kucnis benefit from it as others were allowed to use it. "We have homes and cemeteries here and have the right to graze our livestock and benefit from the land," he added.
He said Kuchis were deprived of their land under a conspiracy hatched by other tribes in order to force them into leaving the area. He feared their cattle could die of hunger if they were not allowed to graze.
"According to our information, some lands of Kuchis have been grabbed in the area," said the Kuchi department head in Balkh, Mohammad Farooq. He asked Kuchi families to approach his department through their council to make efforts at resolving their problems.
He said up to 24,000 Kuchi families lived in nine Balkh districts and possessed more than 400,000 livestock.
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