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SAHIWAL: Ghala Mandi police have registered six first information reports (FIRs) in a land fraud involving the buyers and sellers of an illegal housing scheme, Shuja Town, on Arifwala-Sahiwal Road.

Investigation Officer Nadeem Afzal said they had arrested Niaz Ahmed, who was front man of the land owners, and property dealer Sharjeel.

Dawn learned Ahmed Shuja and Zahid Shuja owned 12 acres in the city where they planned Shuja Town, a housing scheme, in 2007 and offered 252 plots ranging two to 10 marlas for sale both on full payment and monthly installments. Shujas appointed Niaz to deal with the buyers.

They also applied for a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the Sahiwal Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA).

Sarwar was one of the clients who bought the plot on installments in 2008. He said the TMA did not issue NOC till 2011 and sealed it for non payment of Rs5.4 million dues. The owners moved the Board of Revenue against TMA’s decision and the case is pending hearing.

Zahid Shuja told Dawn they had stopped Niaz from selling plots in 2011 when the town was sealed by the TMA. From 2007 to 2011, more than 100 people constructed their houses in the scheme while another 100 kept on depositing their installments till date. When they all demanded land transfer, Niaz resisted their demands. When buyers kept on demanding land transfer, Niaz stopped coming to the site office.

Buyers approached Zahid Shuja but only to be told that the family had decided to dismantle the town for it was developed illegally.

When they demanded their money back, Zahid Shuja said they had nothing to do with them as they had stopped selling plots in 2011. This agitated the buyers who blocked Arifwala-Sahiwal Road for three consecutive days from Friday.

The Shuja family got registered two cases against Niaz for minting money from the buyers while the buyers got registered cases against owners as they claim they had submitted installments to Shuja family’s personal accounts. This correspondence saw bank deposit slips in the name of Zahid Shuja.

Police said they would register more FIRs if people approached them.

Dawn spoke to Muhammad Imran, Rasheed, Shakeel and Muhammad Arslan, who all have deposited the agreed amount with Shuja’s account and now they want land ownership.

“We will not allow the demolition of our houses over non-payment of TMA dues by the owners,” Imran argued.

Despite the illegal status of the scheme, the TMA did not take any action against the developers from 2007 to 2011. The TMA officials say the case is with the police and they will submit their version to the police.

Not only the TMA was negligent, power and gas authorities also supplied utility connections to the houses built in the illegal scheme.

A case registered against Zahid Shuja involves sections 420, 468, 471 and 467 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Police have yet to arrest Shuja in the case.

Police refused to comment when asked why they had not arrested Shujas.

“They are untouchable as a former IG is Shuja’s brother-in-law,” said one of the buyers.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2015

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