MUREE: Local residents fear that construction of Mall Road-II from Danna to Arwarri will deprive them of their ancestral land.

Addressing a press conference, they said since their families had been residing here for the last 200 years, they would not allow any such project. Prominent among those who attended the press conference were Advocate Asad Iqbal Abbasi, Shaukat Ali Abbasi, retired Major Amjad, Kamran Abbasi, Umar Hayat Abbasi, Mansoor Sohrab and Mustafiz Abbasi. They all were residents Arwarri and Danna.

They also feared that the government would occupy graveyards of their forefathers.

They said the current historic Mall Road was of great importance and needed to be further improved and plans should be chalked out to provide access to tourists there.

If the Punjab government and Rawalpindi commissioner want to build a new mall road they should go for the government land. They said there were many beautiful places like Kotli Sattian, Crore, Charhan where Mall Road-II can be built.

They said that they had the right to live on their inherited lands and no institution or person could snatch this right from them. There is a conspiracy to snatch our ancestral lands from us in the name of Mall Road-II, they claimed.

They also took exception to a notification banning construction in the area, which they termed a violation of basic human rights. They demanded the notification issued on Nov 11, be withdrawn within 24 hours otherwise they would resort to violent protests.

They said they had constituted an action committee which would use all options including knocking on the doors of courts.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Waqar Hussain, who holds additional charge of Murree administrator, told Dawn he that the proposed project of Mall Road-II is at the feasibility stage.

After a detailed geological, topographical survey and traffic assessment, a master plan would be made and locals view point would also be incorporated, he added.

He said that a world class pedestrian Mall-II was being planned to reduce the tourists load on the existing Mall Road, for which a vast parking arrangements would be made.

The project would be a private-public partnership venture, he said.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2020

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