Paktika elders demand Sharan mayor sacked
KABUL/SHAHRAN (Pajhwok): More than 50 elders from southeastern Paktika province travelled to Kabul on Sunday to demand sacking of Sharan, the provincial capital’s mayor for what they alleged his involvement in corruption.
Ten of the elders visited Pajhwok Afghan News main office in Kabul with documented evidence regarding corrupt practices by Obaidullah Saadat, the Sharana mayor.
Mohammad Khalid, an elder, the mayor demanded to vacate 30 villages so that he could implement his strategic master plan. He said people had been living in the area for years. They had agriculture lands which could be impossible for them to vacate, he added.
Khalid suggested that the mayor could easily implement his strategic master plan in a plain area in eastern part of the area.
Amanullah, another elder, said then president Hamid Karzai issued a decree banning development of townships on agricultural lands.
Abdul Qayyum, a businessman, said he paid 3,000,000 afs to the mayor few years back for construction of four markets but since then the mayor had not handed over the markets. The mayor wanted to sell the markets to other businessmen, he added.
Banaras Nisar, president of shopkeeper union, said the mayor increased shop permit fee from 250 afs to 5,000 afs. Sharan municipality had 29 markets in the city and the mayor had given most of the shops to influential instead of poor and deserving.
Haji Mohammad Khan, president of unions of gas stations and mosques, said: “The population of the town is less and has over 270 markets where as economic exchange growth is also limited hence there is no need to expend the city to reconstruct township over agricultural land.”
The elders complained that mayor’s policies had widened the gulf between locals and government which needed to be bridged. They warned of Khost’s style protests in the area and the responsibility would be on mayor.
Mohammad Khalid, another elder, said that they had submitted written complaints to the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) but its response was yet awaited.
Eng. Karim, director urban development, said the government had not implemented any plan to order a township on any agricultural land.
Obaidullah Saadat, Paktika mayor, called it baseless allegations. He added he distributed shops as per governor’s and commission’s recommendations among deserving people. Most of the aggrieved people complained to protect their own interests, the mayor said.
The mayor categorically denied reconstruction of any township over agricultural land but Pajhwok received a signed letter of the mayor which described the villages where the mayor wanted to implement Master Plan.
Saadat explained he increased the shop permits as per suggestion from the central government. The mafia did not want development in Sharan City, therefore, they created hurdles for his development projects, he added.
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