MULTAN: On the directions of the Supreme Court, the district administrations of Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur have planned to retrieve the land of the Sardar Kaura Khan Trust till Jan 5.
The administrations are following the orders of a division bench of the court, consisting of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, which heard suo-moto case on the applications of Muzaffar Hussain Khan and Mansoor Ahmed Shah, on Nov 24.
The petitioners, however, demanded that the land be retrieved through Rangers. The Supreme Court had directed the authorities to submit a report regarding the physical verification of land being auctioned, besides the evaluation of the present income and suggestion to improve income and recommendations for the utilization of the income.
Muzaffargarh District Officer Coordination Muhammad Shahzad conducted the scrutiny of the record in both districts.
DCOs of two districts say SC order will be implemented
According to his report, Sardar Kaura Khan Jatoi had 292,422 kanals in both districts and made a will before his death which was registered on October 5, 1894. Mr Jaoti died in 1897 without any issue and the will was implemented the same year.
As per the will, 97,474 kanals were donated to the then district board (the district council) Muzaffargarh for the welfare of the public and it was also mentioned in the revenue record.
During the scrutiny of the record it was revealed that a compromise took place between the ‘legal heirs’ of Mr Jatoi and the district council, according to which 0.5/3 share was returned to the heirs.When the physical position of the land was checked, it emerged the land was 83,074 kanals and 8 marlas, of which 49,737 kanals and eight marlas were under cultivation, 6,651 kanals and 17 marlas barren, 22,542 kanals and 14 marlas under the River Indus and 4,142 kanals and one marla under the use of government buildings, illegal abadi, roads and tracks.
The report said that during the course of physical verification and scrutiny of the record of recover, it was observed that recovery was less from the capacity of the land due to inappropriate administration, absence of rational system of auction, illegal cultivation, low recovery, presence of middleman between cultivators and the district council, absence of the proper systems of recovery, transfer of land to different government departments, inclusion of missing land in lot bandi, absence of effective wara bandi of canal water, failure in smooth transfer of possession to the successful bidders and ineffective checks and balance.
Mr Magasi says the land under the use of government departments was without any lawful authority as the trust land cannot be used for any other purpose.
He said the entire land being used by government departments and illegal occupants should be retrieved as per the direction of the Supreme Court while the income in billions which was misappropriated should be recovered from the responsible officials and private people.
“Since decades, the people of Muzaffargarh, particularly the students, who should have been benefited have been deprived of the outcome of the will,” he said.
“Rangers should be used to get the occupied land vacated from grabbers as I do not think that the administration which is still plundering the income will take any action,” he said.
Rajanpur District Coordination Officer Zahoor Hussain Gujjar said a small portion of the land was located in Rajanpur district. He said that a couple of hundreds acre land was under the use of illegal grabbers which would be retrieved as per the directions of the Supreme Court.
Muzaffargarh District Coordination Officer Hafiz Shaukat said that the direction of the Supreme Court would be followed in letter and spirit.
Published in Dawn November 26th, 2016