PESHAWAR - Elders of Yousafzai tribe, hailing from district Mardan, have demanded of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to cancel the lease of 15-acre of land hilly place Shamozai, given by former ANP government to their blue-eyed against the consent of local owners.

“This lease was tantamount to grab a morsel from the hands of the children of hundreds of affected families,” the elders led by Amal Baz Khan and Farman Khan said while addressing a news conference here on Friday at Peshawar Press Club. They urged the government and the authorities of Minerals Department to take notice of the allegedly illegal lease and initiate stern legal action against those involved in this illegal dealing.

Amal Baz Khan said that this piece of hill measuring about 15 acres in Shamozai and Pahari Ghunda areas was known for precious stones like Pukraj, whereas the livelihood of hundreds of families were linked with this. He alleged that this lease was given to the sister-in-law of ANP Senator Azam Hoti with the connivance of a so-called local committee and without taking the local tribe in confidence. “More than 1,200 families relying on businesses related to mining have been affected whereas about 400 persons have become jobless,” he added.

The elders also alleged that local committee chief Zar Bahadar Khan, former Nazim Saeed Ahmad, Sakhawat Khan, former Tehsil Nazim Khan Daraz, Haji Mumtaz, Khan Babo and Aitibar Gul had been forcefully taking the income of these minerals for the last 30 years. After the lease, they lamented that locals were not let to explore for precious stones, or bring wood use for fuel, and even to graze their cattle in mountains. The committee members also grabbed the rights of poor families by selling 161 vehicles and 100-dumper trucks at cheap prices and grabbed the amount, they alleged.        

They farther said that about Rs 10 million got from minerals were lying in banks and were not spent on the welfare of concerned local population. About Rs 3,000,000 are being got from marbles, grass, crush machines and wood yearly, they maintained.