65 land-grabbers arrested in Nangarhar: police
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Police on Wednesday claimed reclaiming 3,119 jiribs (1,559.5 acres) of land from its illegal occupants and arresting 65 individuals in connection with the land-grab in eastern Nangarhar province.
The development comes weeks after President Ashraf Ghani, during a visit to Nangarhar, ordered the police chief to prepare a list of land-grabbers and arrest them.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Fazl Ahmad Sherzad said police had arrested 30 people, including the main accused, in connection with usurping hundreds of acres of land belonging to the canal project, a decades-long infrastructure scheme.
He said a total of 65 persons had been arrested over allegedly encroaching upon government land and their cases had been referred to the attorney’s offices.
Sherzad told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Police have so far reclaimed 1,559.5 acres of land in various areas and in this connection 65 people who were detained have been referred to the attorneys.”
The provincial appellate attorney’s office has so far said nothing in this regard, but the appellate court chief Judge Abdul Wali Qazizada told government officials at a gathering on Tuesday that they had so far received 17 land grab cases.
In a statement issued by the Nangarhar Media Office, Qazizada said they had so far received 17 cases with the largest usurped land not exceeding 500 square metres.
A resident of Jalalabad, Habibullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News that no serious action had been taken so far against land-grabbers and powerful usurpers were yet to be arrested.
“Seriousness is required in this issue because thousands of acres of land has been usurped in Nangarhar.”
Earlier, the provincial council chief and members had also complained the land-grab issue is not seriously taken.
The governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said the police chief had arrested a number of persons accused of land-grab, but some of them were released for a lack of evidence.
“The governor yesterday called a meeting to discuss coordination among the relevant organs with regard to the land-grab issue in order to ensure that all land-grabbers are arrested.”
Khogyani said the provincial administration had launched efforts at reclaiming usurped land.
Local officials admit thousands of acres of land has been usurped in Nangarhar.
Jalalabad Mayor Hamidullah Afghan told Pajhwok Afghan News that they had launched their investigation into the land-grab issue and had handed over some lists of usurpers to the security organs.
He said a number of townships were partially built on usurped land and the municipality had launched its investigation in this regard.
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