FAISALABAD: The Rescue 1122 district officer and the Saddar station house officer (SHO) in connivance with private people set up an illegal cattle market on state land at Niamoana and extorted more than Rs15 million from the sellers, an official report reveals.

A gang of fraudsters is working in this market and extorting money from the sellers in the name of renting canopies, food and water for the animals. And visitors are also being pressurised to pay for the entry and exit and parking fees.

The report by Assistant Commissioner Ayub Bukhari was forwarded to the commissioner, regional police officer and the Punjab government as well. The report was prepared after the AC visited the site with the police, staff of Metropolitan Corporation Faisalabad and General Manager of the Punjab Cattle Market Management and Development Company, Faisalabad on June 27.

During the visit, they found that hundreds of tents and canopies at the state land were under the occupation of Rescue 1122. The lambardar of the area was also called who stated the illegal activity upon state land was being done by Maqsood, a Rescue 1122 official, local police and some mobsters of the vicinity.

Choki in-charge Amjad Farooq also stated the site was established on the instructions of Maqsood.

Cattle sellers complained that Maqsood along with SHO Ayub Sahi and private people, including contractor Kashif Khan, had been visiting the site for the last three days where the SHO introduced Khan as a government contractor. The sellers also alleged the SHO pressurised them and extorted money from them. They said a canopy measuring 45x45 was leased out for Rs200,000 to 250,000 and tent for Rs50,000 to Rs70,000 to the cattle sellers.

Poor cattle sellers came to Faisalabad from different cities, the report reads.

After ascertaining the situation, the AC contacted Rescue 1122 District Emergency Officer lhtesham Wahla and apprised him of the situation. The AC asked Wahla about availability of any lease agreement, however, the rescue officer claimed he had not leased out the state land.

The AC said he had asked Wahla to send a written report to him so that a comprehensive report could be submitted to the commissioner but he lingered the matter on for three days, and later on asked the AC to seek any clarification from him through the head of his department.

The lumbardar of Chak 235-RB stated the Rescue official and Khan with the support of the SHO established the illegal cattle market on state land adjacent to the Niamoana Punjab Cattle Market Management and Development Company and extorted money worth millions from sellers.

The lumbardar revealed that before the establishment of the market, some residents of the vicinity met Wahla and informed him that some private persons with the connivance of his employees were establishing an illegal cattle market on state land belonging to Rescue 1122.

Mr Wahla told the visitors that he had given such land to Khan on lease.

The lumbardar said he also visited the spot where Khan and another man identified as Wasif Khan showed him newspaper advertisements for lease and office order (FSD-10308/21(P.E.S) dated 30-06-2021) issued by the office of Rescue 1122. He said both told him (lumberdar) that they had taken this state land from Rescue 1122 on lease.

The AC mentioned that in 2016 the Colonies Department Board of Revenue Punjab had handed over the possession of the state land measuring 19 acres and three kanals to the Home Department for the establishment of Rescue 1122 lines.

It was clarified by the Punjab Board of Revenue that the ownership shall remain in the name of the provincial government and the land would not be used for any other purpose except for the Rescue 1122 lines.

The land will automatically revert to the Colonies Department when it is no longer required for the purpose, the report reads.

He said neither Mr Wahla filed a complaint with the local police nor sought any assistance from the district administration to retrieve the precious piece of land from illegal occupants.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2021

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