MULTAN: The land of the Sardar Kaura Khan Trust being encroached by government departments will not be retrieved despite a Supreme Court’s orders to get back land till Jan 5.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Hafiz Muhammad Shaukat confirmed that the administration was not going to retrieve the land being used by various government departments.

“The land is being used for the welfare of the public and cannot be retrieved,” he said.

Philanthropist Sardar Kaura Khan Jatoi donated 97,474 kanals to then Muzaffargarh district board (now district council) for the welfare of the public and made a will before his death which was registered on October 5, 1894.

A Supreme Court double bench on Nov 24 ordered the Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur administrations to retrieve the land from illegal occupants. The court will take up the case on Jan 5.

The Muzaffargarh DCO said that notices had been issued to the departments for the payment of rent on the trust land.

Executive District Officer Muhammad Azam said that in the first phase the administration had retrieved over 2,000 kanals from private occupants, demolishing 200 houses.

He said the operation against government installments on the trust land would be taken with the permission of the commissioner in the second phase.

“We cannot demolish official buildings,” he said.

He said that as a makeshift arrangement, the departments would be charged rent for using the trust land.

Jampur Assistant Commissioner Qamar Qaisrani said the trust land in Rajanpur was not under any illegal occupation.In Muzaffargarh’s mauza Jatoi Shomali, the 100 kanals of the trust is under the illegal use of the Jatoi Tehsil Municipal Administration, livestock and the district council.

Similarly, 30 kanals is being cultivated by the tehsil judiciary illegally while the Judges’ Colony has been constructed at 13 kanals, Officers’ Colony at 13 kanals.

The constructions are in violation of section 51 of the Trust Act of 1882, according to which a trustee may not use or deal with the trust property for their own profit or for any other purpose unconnected with the trust.

Public establishments such as graveyards, stadiums, schools, colleges, dispensaries and roads have also been constructed on the trust land.

Muzaffar Khan Magasi, one of the petitioners, said the district administration had started using the trust property illegally, paving way for private illegal occupants.

He said that commercial markets, poultry forms, shops, wagon stands, bungalows and villages had been constructed on the trust property over the years.

“The number of illegal houses is in thousands which has been provided electricity connections; this was not possible without the consent of the trust administration,” he said.

He said that 0.5/3 share of the donated land was given to the heirs of Mr Jatoi by the district council without any lawful authority.

He said that Mr Jatoi did not nominated any trustee and the land was transferred to the district board (now district council) but bureaucracy became its trustee and also beneficiary as well.

“Only four schools have been established with the trust resources and these schools are charging heavy fees from the students,” he said.

He said the income of the trust land was misappropriated and there was no record of thousands of trees of the trust.

He said that during the physical verification of the trust land it was revealed 22,542 kanals and 14 marlas were under the River Indus but a large portion of the land was growing one crop as well.

He said that he had suggested the administration to start retrieving the trust land from government departments first so as to give a strong message to private occupants.

“If government departments are not ready to vacate the land, how would the administration will confront other occupants,” he said.He said that the action should be taken against the officers/officials who issued NOC for the construction official buildings and roads.

He also demanded the land be retrieved through Rangers.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2016

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