SWAT: The people of Saidu Sharif and Mingora here on Friday held a protest demonstration against the encroachment of Saidu Sharif’s main graveyard by land mafia and the alleged illegal transfer of its land.

Led by Amir Ahmad, Shamsher Ali Advocate, Mohammad Ali, Habibul Haq Burhan, Faridoon and Taj Malook, a large number of local people gathered at Saidu Chowk to record their protest against the illegal occupation and encroachment of the land of the main cemetery of the area by land mafia.

After the protest, they held a meeting which was addressed by the area elders.

The elders said the 296 kanals Saidu Sharif graveyard was the biggest in the region where dead were buried from different parts of lower Swat.

However, they said for the past few years an influential land mafia was busy occupying the graveyard land under the nose of the district administration.

They claimed the district revenue department had even transferred the land to the influential people and said they would now take practical steps to recover the land.

The elders said they had formed a proper body for the graveyard known as Saidu Sharif Central Council (SCC). They said the mafia people were so influential that they were selling the occupied land to others where residential buildings were being constructed.

They claimed that about 12 houses had been built illegally on the graveyard land. They said the SCC had now started removing the illegally constructed buildings and two of them had already been destroyed.

The elders also passed resolutions, demanding retrieval of the graveyard land from the mafia, demarcation of the cemetery and construction of boundary wall around it.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2021

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