Land and property disputes leave all other motives for murder far behind in the federal capital. In the past, such disputes used to be prevalent in rural areas but the growing trend of urbanisation has brought it to the peripheries of big cities where price of real estate has been rising fast. Since Islamabad is the choicest place for many, particularly the moneyed class, to live in or invest, land here fetches the highest price.

Market sources say price of land in Islamabad is 100 per cent higher than in other big cities of Pakistan. In such a situation, forays by the mafia and disputes over land in the city's rural areas are inevitable. Such disputes have risen mostly in those areas of the city which are developing as satellite towns. Many of the cases have been reported from localities like Alipur Farash, Phulgaran, Bhara Kahu, Sihala and those falling in the northern and western parts of the capital. Majority of the disputes have led to target and revenge killings between the contending family members.

The capital has a long history of property disputes and revenge killings. A startling example of this dated back to the pre-partition period - in the '40s - when nine persons were burnt alive due to a land feud.

Another dispute involving two cousins - Haji Nawaz Khokhar and Abdul Rasheed - over a piece of land measuring about 10 kanals in Alipur Farash claimed eight lives within four years. According to the police, the enmity over the piece of land led to revenge killings.

Now only two men are alive in the family of Abdul Rasheed as all others have fallen victims to the land dispute-cum-revenge-killings. From February 2006 to July 2007, the vendetta claimed seven lives. Both sides had been warned on a number of occasions by the police and the parties also submitted security bonds but the revenge killings continued.

In 2008, the parties agreed to an out-of-court reconciliation and withdrew six cases against each other in which over 40 people had been nominated. Out of the 40 accused, the police had arrested 25 persons while the others remained at large. The reconciliation between the two groups, however, led to the release of the arrested accused and quashment of the cases.

However, the vendetta started once again when another family member of Abdul Rasheed was shot dead by unidentified persons on March 9, 2010. The kin of the deceased suspected that their old rivals were behind the murder, and nominated four of them, including three sons of Mr Khokhar.

In the latest revenge attack, Abdul Rasheed's son Riyasat Habib was attacked by armed motorcycle riders at Lehtrar Road. The victim received nine bullets and died on the spot.

Violence over the land occupied by Khokhar and claimed by Abdul Rasheed erupted when Khokhar's sons - Amir Nawaz, Asif Nawaz and Saqib Nawaz - allegedly killed Ejazul Habib, son of Abdul Rasheed, in February 2006.

Six months later, Habib's brothers - Riazul Habib and Riasatul Habib - allegedly attacked and injured Khokhar and killed his servant Nadeem. In September 2006, Khokhar, his son Kashif and nephew Abid were also eliminated.

In May 2007, Abdul Rasheed was attacked near Chaklala; however, he survived. But a week later his son Tahir Bashir was gunned down in front of his house. In July 2007, Adnan Munir, another relative of Rasheed, was shot dead at Chatha Bakhtawar by his rivals including one of Khokhar's sons, who was on bail in the murder cases.

Meanwhile, in another land dispute, a proclaimed offender in a double murder case was killed under unexplained circumstances on March 13, 2010. The bullet-riddled body of Nasir Ahmad, 38, was found in an under-construction building in Banni Gala.

The victim along with his brother was declared proclaimed offender in the murder of a man and his son in 2009. The under-construction building from where the body of Ahmad was recovered is owned by Mohammad Abbasi, the complainant in the double murder case. Mr Abbasi was also found sustaining head injuries from the spot.

The injured Abbasi told the police that Ahmad, armed with weapon, came to the building with an intention to kill him and fired multiple shots at him. Mr Abbasi said he sustained bullet injuries in the head and fell unconscious. However, he failed to describe how he sustained the injuries and his rival received gunshots.

Besides, the weapon either allegedly held by the deceased or used in his murder was yet to be found from the spot, which made the event suspicious.

Opinion

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