MULTAN: An organised encroachment of pathways of the city has been on for the last couple of months causing hardships for motorists and pedestrians alike.

Dawn learned local municipal authorities and their agents minted monthly amounts from vendors and shopkeepers for allowing them to run stalls along footpaths and roads.

The city was divided into four zones in the Gen Musharraf regime -- Mumtazabad Town, Sher Shah Town, Shah Rukn-i-Alam Town and Bosan Town.

Sources said the monthly amount which is in millions is being collected from the encroachers and those who have established 110 illegal parking stands in the city. The officials have hired private people to collect the money on daily, weekly and monthly basis.

They said the extortion was not only collected in the areas which fall under the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation but also those falling under the jurisdiction of the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency and the Multan Development Authority. The areas from where the extortion is being collected are Hussain Agahi Road, Water Workers Road, Mumtazabad, Gulgasht Colony, Dera Adda, Nishtar Road, Double Phattak, Syedaanwala Bypass, Clock Tower Chowk, Sooraj Miani, Naag Shah, Head Muhammadwala Road, Chungi No 9, Kumharanwala Chowk, Vehari Chowk, Bahawalpur Chowk, Aziz Hotel Chowk, Masoom Shah Road, in and outside of walled city and Shaheedaan Chowk.

Earlier, the jurisdiction of the corporation was in 68 union councils, however, after the introduction of the Local Government Act 2020, the jurisdiction has been extended to 90 union councils which increased extortion opportunities for the officials.

They said that besides the group of corporation employees another group is also active to rent out spaces to encroachers in the city which is being patronized by an officer of high rank.

A member of the public lodged a complaint with Prime Minister’s Citizen Portal on Dec 1.

IT in charge of the complaint cell Khalid Mahmood Gilani said the complaint had been forwarded to MOR Malik Ishfaq for further action.

Published in Dawn, Jannuary 3rd, 2021

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