Police Arrest Co-Accused In Illegal Land Transfer Case

The Nation

WAH CANTT-Police on Sunday claimed to have arrested co-accused in a case in which a developer was alleged of illegally transferring and occupying land along ancient Buddhist monastery Dharmarajika by presenting fake documents.

The land developer Major Gen (R) Mozzam Ali and the co-accused Najeeb had been booked by police on August 21 on the complaint by Assistant Director Land Record Taxila Aqib Javaid.

Aqib in his application stated that the land developer through Najeeb had submitted forged documents for transfer of land on February 26, 2018. He stated that verification and vetting it was revealed that the documents were forged. Taxila Police arrested the co-accused Najeeb during a raid at the accused’s hideout in Minawali.

Confirming the FIR, Assistant Commissioner Taxila Usman Tariq said no one was above the law and local administration would fully support revenue department to ensure merit and transparency.

The land which was illegally transferred is located adjacent to the encroached path to ancient Buddhist Stupa and monastery Dharmarajika which dates back to 3rd century B.C, and is listed as UNESCO World Heritage and accredited for being one of the earliest Buddhist monuments. It is also one of the 8 largest Buddhist stupas in South Asia. Mozzam Ali has also encroached upon the path leading to the stupa which was detected by land and revenue authorities during demarcation carried out during June.

A report submitted by Commissioner Rawalpindi reveals that according to official land record, Mozzam had encroached upon the land of the Dharmarajika Stupa. The Commissioner Rawalpindi in his report of June 24 revealed, “The private person has encroached the land owned by the federal government and has obstructed free access of the public to the stupa by installing gate.”

The path leading to the Dharmarajika Stupa, which is protected under the Antiquities Act 1975, has been blocked for around 10 years after Mozzam Ali purchased land near the site and constructed a boundary wall that blocked access to the stupa.

Abdul Malik and Saeed Ahmed Wahla, through their late counsel and famous human rights activist Asma Jahangir had filed a petition in January 2018 under Article 199 of the Constitution in the Lahore High Court, asking that the boundary wall constructed around the historic site be declared illegal. Lahore High Court issued notices to the Punjab government. Asma Jahangir died in February 2018, but the case was argued by her junior lawyers who on behalf of petitioners prayed to the court that directions be issued to Rawalpindi commissioner to render all possible assistance to the archaeology department to ensure compliance with the law, initiate legal proceedings against the encroacher so that future encroachments are also avoided.

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