KOHAT: The police claimed on Monday to have arrested an influential land grabber, six facilitators of proclaimed offenders, and 57 suspects in actions on Sunday night.

DSP headquarters Azmat Bangash and DSP city Sadaat Khan told a presser that the operations were carried out in urban and rural areas of the cantonment, Afghan refugee camp, and Junglekhel area.

They said illegal weapons and drugs were also seized, including four Kalashnikovs, five 12-bore repeaters, fifteen pistols, two rifles, thousands of cartridges and five kilogrammes of hashish.

They identified the head of land grabbers’ gang as Arshad.

Meanwhile, the traffic police on Monday removed hundreds of pushcarts from the roadsides during a crackdown in the chicken market and on the jail road, and put them inside the sasta bazaar.

The traffic police had to move into action after the repeated failures of the tehsil municipal administration to implement the orders of the city mayor Sher Zaman to clear the roads of encroachments.

The city mayor had ordered the TMA to remove pushcarts and cabins blocking entrances to the sasta bazaar and the jail market.

He had also announced initiating an inquiry into ‘corruption’ by TMA in the auction of shops, award of contracts, and turning a mosque and its ablution place in a commercial centre into shops.

Chief traffic warden Rauf Khattak said they had orders from district police officer Shafiullah Gandapur to clear roads of encroachments to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

He said traffic police had been removing encroachments from time to time, but the TMA ‘allowed’ the pushcart owners to occupy the roads again.

Tehsil municipal officer Amin Gul said pushcart owners operating in the old bus stand were legal as they had licences.

He said since the construction of sasta bazaar a decade ago, hundreds of operations had been conducted against the pushcart owners, but they occupied the roadsides the next day.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2022

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