Usman Buzdar and family booked for 'illegal misappropriation' of state land in DG Khan in 1980s

Published June 20, 2022
A file photo of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar. — APP/File
A file photo of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar. — APP/File

Corruption cases have been registered against former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar and his family for "unlawful and illegal misappropriation of state land" in Dera Ghazi Khan, it emerged on Monday.

Two cases were registered on the complaint of Basheer Ahmed Chauhan on June 18 at DG Khan's Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) office under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 5/2/47 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The first information reports (FIRs) said the complainant had submitted applications on July 28, 2018, and June 7, 2022 to DG Khan's deputy commissioner about "bogus mutations" by Buzdar and his brothers.

Chauhan's complaints said that Buzdar and his brothers had "bogusly mutated" 887 kanal and 26 marlas of state land in their favour through the land commission in connivance with DG Khan district's revenue officers and officials.

The FIRs said they already possessed over 12.5 acres of land but were still allotted state land despite Martial Law Regulation stating that anyone possessing over 12.5 acres of property was not entitled to an allotment.

Detailing the process through which they allegedly got the land transferred, the FIRs said the suspects were minors when the allotment was made. They added that DG Khan's commissioner had referred the allotment files to the deputy commissioner for an inquiry who responded that they merited no consideration since the complaints were anonymous.

The allotments were confirmed by the deputy land commissioner in 1982 and mutated in 1986, the FIRs alleged, adding that the deputy land commissioner had "fraudulently provided cover to this bogus allotment ... by giving illegal favour to the beneficiaries of the state land".

The FIRs demanded that "strict criminal action" be pursued against the allottees along with revenue officers and officials. They added that a case for cancellation of allotment was also recommended since it was "crystal clear" that state land had been "misappropriated unlawfully and illegally".

Buzdar was later granted protective bail by Justice Shujaat Ali Khan of the Lahore High Court's Bahawalpur bench. The judge scheduled the former chief minister's next court appearance for June 30.

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