Despite repeated promises by comparatively better governed Punjab Provincial Government, headed by CM Shahbaz Sharif, the powerful land mafia and corrupt civil bureaucracy have prevented computerised documentation of land records, along with location of constructed bridges, amenity parks, state and private owned storage buildings etc. The credibility of CM Punjab is at stake, because he has been in power for seven years now.
If Punjab takes the lead, others provinces will be forced to follow. This would increase state revenue; documentation would prevent illegal grabbing of state and private land, by those who benefit from this trade in collaboration with corrupt elements within paid bureaucracy and few rotten eggs in politics. It is time for CM Punjab to ‘walk his talk’ and enforce complete documentation of existing land records, a process that can be completed in 120 days.
Pakistan faces a threat of water scarcity, which coupled with diminishing green belts and massive deforestation, to make way for concrete jungles owned by powerful land developers with insatiable greed for plot allotments. If this goes unchecked Pakistan faces threat of a famine, given the acute water crisis it already faces and an increasing population.
Thousands of acres of prime real estate in Karachi, earmarked for amenity parks, such as Kidney Hill have been illegally occupied and converted into illegal private housing societies, which continue to exist. Billions of rupees have been misappropriated on ghost bridges, schools, health centers and roads that exist only on paper, in an era where a satellite scan can verify authenticity of documented land records. Powerful people with vested interests, in collaboration with corrupt public office holders, have succeeded in preventing this documentation which would protect rights of individual land owners and make it impossible for patwaris and land revenue officials to indulge in institutionalised corruption.
ALI M TARIQ,
Dubai, July 26.