LAHORE: Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq says that board owns no commercial property in Balochistan, as its all land in the province had been sold by its two former heads, who also were retired military generals, during the Musharraf rule.

He told Dawn the two retired military generals had declared the land as “unmanageable” during their tenures.

“In Balochistan, the ETPB had the commercial property worth billions on Jinnah Road in Quetta which was sold during the regimes of two retired generals,” he said.

“Their act caused a huge financial loss to the ETPB.”

He said it was shocking to know that trust’s commercial property had been sold illegally by declaring it “unmanageable”.

“You know the rates of commercial property in Quetta: Rs250,000 per squre feet.”

He said board members in a meeting had given a go-ahead to the administration to seek the help of chief ministers in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to get retrieved trust-owned 9,000 fertile acres from the land grabbers. He said approximately over 4,000 acres of the ETPB were under unlawful possession in Sindh, over 5,000 acres in Punjab and 200 to 300 acres in thee KP.

“I don’t have the detail of commercial property occupied illegally in these three provinces. Also, I don’t have information about the detail of the commercial property sold out in Quetta,” he explained.

Earlier, after board’s 299th meeting, he told reporters the participants had passed a resolution, condemning land mafia occupying ETPB’s land.

He said he hoped during the operation against illegal occupants, they would have the support of the local administration in all provinces.

He said since ETPB’s laws on agriculture and urban properties were outdated, they were being amended so as to punish the land grabbers. He said trust’ barren land had been proposed to be leased for 10 years.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2016

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