KHUSHAB - The residents of Sodhi Bala Thursday appealed to Election Commission of Pakistan and the Punjab Interim government to take notice of illegal construction of a road in their area, terming it pre-poll rigging in NA-93, district Khushab.

The villagers informed they have obtained a stay order from a Khushab Civil Court against the construction of the illegal road in Sodhi Bala but the authorities showing least regard for the court order.

According to the residents of Sodhi Bala, Punjab High Way’s SDO Ghulam Habib, a resident of the same village and having backing of former PML-N MNA Aziz Khan, is behind the construction of illegal road through Sodhi Bala. They said their houses and fields are under threat due to the illegal road. “No any plan or map for the road in question is approved,” the residents claimed.

“Court has stayed construction of the road but we wonder it is still continuing,” said a villager namely Nawaz.

“Punjab High Way’s SDO Ghulam Habib has threatened us to demolish our houses after Eid despite the stay order,” he further said. “Everybody here in the village is worried because of the SDO who seems to have made it a matter of personal ego,” he asserted. The villagers said that by claiming “fake law and order situation”, the higher authorities are misled for construction of the road.

“Poor people are worried for their houses. The government has not announced any compensation or alternative land for their houses and fields,” Dr Sultan Mubariz said. Dr Mubariz said the road was being constructed without acquisition of land, map and feasibility report.  The most important thing is that people were about to lose their homes due to the road but the government and local authorities had done nothing for them.

“People want the road but not through the village but through the other way outside their village,” said Dr. Mubariz who regretted that majority of the people in the area did not have political backing against those who were political influential and strong.

The residents also approached Khushab Deputy Commissioner against construction of Sodhi Bala road but they said DC instead of doing anything backed the politically strong party in the area, resulting into the road construction.

“People here are being threatened that their houses will be demolished,” Dr Mubariz regretted, appealing to the ECP and government authorities to take notice of the road construction in election days. 

They said they wrote letters to Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif last month, requesting him to take notice of the illegal road but in vain.  They demanded SDO Ghulam Habib’s transfer to any other part of the province but he was not transferred from their area, they added.