HARIPUR: A two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court’s Abbottabad Registry has barred the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary and the secretary forest, environment & wildlife department from conducting demarcation of Guzara forest land here on the basis of Google Maps, and directed them to come up with arguments within 15 days.

Sardar Nasir Aslam Khan Advocate, the counsel for the 14 landowners of Makhniyal area of Haripur, said his clients had moved the court under Article 199 of the Constitution challenging a letter dated Sept 15.

According to the petitioners, the chief secretary through the said letter had ordered demarcation of the private lands belonging to petitioners and several other owners in Makhniyal area claiming the land was Guzara forest land.

The petitioners contested the claim terming it illegal, mala fide, and without jurisdiction and lawful authority, and prayed the court for declaring it illegal.

The bench comprising Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Justice Shakil Ahmed, after listening to the arguments from both the sides, barred the respondents, including the chief secretary and secretary forest, environment & wildlife, from acting upon the letter.

It may be added that the landowners from Makhniyal area had been protesting against the forest department for stopping them from carrying out any construction and transfer deeds on the lands, and declaring it Guzara forest.

District Development Advisory Committee, Haripur, chairman Arshad Ayub Khan has also tabled a resolution in the KP Assembly against the chief secretary order.

ROAD PROJECT: Provincial minister for local government Akbar Ayub Khan has inaugurated work on a five-kilometre road in a remote village of the Beer union council, saying the road would help provide communication facility to thousands of residents of over six small and big villages.

He said Beer UC was one of the remote union councils of Haripur, but it remained neglected. He claimed the government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was committed to improving the living standard of people without discrimination. The minister said the Kangar-Amgah Road would cost Rs53.4 million and would be executed by the C&W department.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020

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