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House panel to expose land sharks in 2 months

House panel to expose land sharks in 2 months

Jun 03, 2013 - 17:04

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon -- or lower house of the parliament -- on Monday tasked a commission with exposing land-grabbers within two months.

Zalmai Mujaddedi, the head of the panel that was created last year, informed lawmakers that more than half a million acres of land had been illegally seized across the country over the past three decades.

Members of the commission had met many government organs in an attempt to find documents regarding the land unlawfully seized, he said, alleging most of grabbers enjoyed support from the government.  

Mujaddedi said the practice continued apace because the criminals were allowed to go scot-free. He announced the panel had prepared a draft law to punish land sharks.

Currently being vetted by the 18 house commissions, the proposed law would be placed before the assembly for approval in near future, he added.

According to the panel’s secretary, Sher Wali Wardak, 15, 831 powerful individual are involved in the big-time land grab. They had documents to substantiate the claim, he said.

Of the 355 housing schemes in the country, only 94 had been constructed legally, Wardak revealed, saying most of the lands had been seized by warlords and government officials.

Parliamentarian Ramazan Bashar Dost hit out at the commission, saying: “Media outlets have released more comprehensive reports than your documents.” He demanded the grabbers be exposed and brought to justice.

Endorsing Dost’s demand, public representative from Daikundi Mohammad Noor Akbari said the number of major land sharks did not exceed 15 and naming them was no big problem.

In response to calls for naming the criminals, Wardak said the commission’s mandate should be extended. “We have documents about all 15,000 people, but need time to call them and ascertain the details.”

But Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi blasted the commission for failing to discharge its duty in an efficient manner, saying the panel had already completed its term. It should have already exposed the names of the land-grabbers, he believed.

However, he agreed to extend the panel’s mandate for another two months on condition that it would reveal the names of the land grabbers in the given time. Most house members voted in favour of the speaker’s ruling by raising their green cards.



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