PESHAWAR, Dec 3: The district administration has decided to construct boundary walls around the government’s graveyards in Peshawar to secure these from land grabbers.

“The construction of boundary walls around the graveyards will be started within a week,” District Coordination Officer Javed Marwat told Dawn. He said that construction of walls around the graveyards would stop land grabbers from encroaching upon the government property.

The chief justice of Peshawar High Court had taken suo motu notice of encroachments upon lands of graveyards and had issued several directives to the government in this regard.

In April this year a bench of Peshawar High Court headed by its Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan had directed the Peshawar district administration to launch a grand operation for removal of encroachments from the graveyards in the provincial capital. The court had also directed the administration to construct boundary walls around the graveyards and appoint a caretaker at each graveyard. Later, the court extended the drive against encroachments on lands of graveyards to the entire province. The issue is still been pending before the court.

The plan of construction of boundary walls around the government’s graveyards was already approved by the provincial government, the DCO said. He said that Rs20 million were released to the district administration for execution of the plan. The released amount was not enough for construction of so many boundary walls that’s why the district administration demanded Rs50 million more, he said.

Mr Marwat said that the fresh demand was made in a meeting held on Monday with all stakeholders. The meeting, he said, decided to launch a massive anti-encroachment drive against the land grabbers, who encroached upon the graveyards.

“Different committees have been established to conduct anti-encroachment drives in major cemeteries including Akhunabad graveyard, Bakhshu Pul graveyard and Tajabad graveyard,” the DCO said. The tehcil municipal officers of the four towns and representatives of revenue and Auqaf departments were members of the committees, he said.

“I have also requested the high-ups of police to establish a special squad and put it on standby during the anti-encroachment drive so that it can be called if the land grabbers resist,” he said.

Mr Marwat said that SHOs of all police stations were also directed to remain present along with huge contingent of police in their respective areas where the district administration would retrieve land from the land grabbers. He said that he had also directed the administration of Peshawar Development Authority to provide machinery for demolishing illegal structures built on the land of graveyards.

“The district administration has already commenced the drive against the land grabbers in different areas of the city,” the DCO said. However, after some days the encroachers again occupied the land retrieved by the district administration that’s why boundary walls would be built to stop the encroachments, he said.

Mr Marwat said that drive against encroachment would be continued till retrieving all encroached lands and a comprehensive report would be submitted in Peshawar High Court. The meeting was also attended by Assistant Coordination Officer Habibullah Arif, District Revenue Officer Syed Maqsood, Auqaf Director Nadeem Ahmed, TMOs of the four towns, PDA Director Shujat Ali and representatives of police department.

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