PESHAWAR: Residents of Achini protested on Ring Road on Monday against the encroachment drive launched on the directives of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
Protesters stopped officials of the district government from demolishing shops and houses reportedly constructed on government property on both sides of Ring Road – in areas within Achini. Agitated locals blocked Ring Road, demanding the complete halt of the operation.
“The district government is supposed to clear encroachment within 52 feet from the main road, but officials are demolishing structures within 143 feet, depriving people of their property,” said MPA Fazal Elahi. The legislator who led the protesters told The Express Tribune, “The government is crossing the limit and is taking extra land from people.”
He said the drive was started by his own government—Elahi is a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA—and party members were supporting it. However, land belonging to citizens should not be damaged in the name of anti-encroachment drives, added the lawmaker.
Cleaning up the map
The closure of the road led to a complete halt of traffic for one and a half hours.
Deputy Commissioner Riaz Mehsud invited the protesters to discuss it at his office to resolve the issue amicably. Led by the MPA, the protesters reopened the road and a delegation of locals went to the DC’s office.
They were told the drive was launched on the order of the provincial government. The structures were being demolished following a map provided by the revenue department.
However, members of the delegation said officials did not seem to be working as per a map and were damaging property belonging to locals. However, they agreed they would remove structures constructed less than 52 feet from the thoroughfare. Ring Road was reopened for traffic.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2015.