Archive for February 10, 2014

It was reported through some active civil society actors and human rights defenders from Tharparkar region that some land grabbers are cutting trees and their intentions are to grab the land spread over hundreds of kilometres. According to news, these people are claiming support of Pir Pagara, Spiritual leader of Hurs, and eminent politicians. Cutting off trees and selling them is source of revenue for these people and another thing is grabbing the land which is of the Government. We are forgetting the Pakistan is already facing an environmental threat due to increasing pollution. On one side we are promting the cause of planiting trees on the other side these mafias are cutting tress forgetting that their short term interest are less important than the interest of saving earth and preventing pollution. In this regard, it become duty of the State and state actors to save trees and challenge such groups and mafias who are threat to trees and environment. If state fails or is not willing, it becomes duty of the citizens to act against such things. In Umer kot district when a group of land mafia cut trees spread over piece of land over kilometres and trying to grab the land. Human rights defenders, poets writers, journalists and other civil society actors protested in front of the Deputy Commissioner office and call for support and protection. Main issue in this regard which has disturbed the whole civil society is that this mafia has started encroaching the land where famous poet Haleem Baghi and Juamn Darbar reside. Their village called ROHAL WA is target.

Another negative development in this regard is that the mafia has bought the support of expensive lawyers and served 30-32 civil society actors notices of defamation and using legal tools to harrass them. These civil society actors include AWARE Head Ali Akbar Rahimoon, DAWN correspondent A B Arisar, poet Juman Darbadar, Ishaq Sand, Haleem Baghi and others. In order to counter them, Sindh Progressive Lawyers.

RightsNow Pakistan contacted different sources of Pagaro group for knowing their version and intimating them about the misuse of their name for land grabbing and chopping off trees and requested them for withdrawing support if they in anyways do to such act which is illegal and against the community and environment. In case, the patronage was continued and the threat to the rights of community, environment continued, RightsNow Pakistan and Sindh Progressive Lawyers Forum will act on behalf of them.   

Profile of the poet, Haleem Baghi whose village is also under threat of these land mafia agents.

News published in Dawn about protest by the Civil Society

Rampage during preparation for Pagara visit slammed- The Newspaper’s Correspondent- Published 2014-02-04 07:15:34

UMERKOT: A large number of activists of nationalist parties, villagers and townspeople took out a procession here on Monday in protest against chopping off of trees in historical Rohal Wai village by land mafia.

Haleem Baghi and Juman Darbadar, well-known poets, who led the protest told journalists that members of land mafia were using a visit to the village by Pir Sahib Pagara expected within two weeks to grab the 100-acre government land.

They had started chopping off trees and bulldozing all other structures on the pretext of preparing the land for a public gathering to be addressed by Pir Pagara, they said.

They said that in fact the land mafia wanted to occupy the government land and sell it out to earn millions of rupees. They had informed local leadership of PPP and PML-F about it but none bothered to stop them, they said.

Khatai Thebo, a leader of Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) and poet, said that if land grabbers were not stopped, the SAS would launch a series of protests across the province.

Primary teacher Mohammad Juman Gajoo said the land mafia had made people’s lives miserable in the district. After having encroached upon government land they sold it off to multiple customers, he said.

Poet Haji Sand urged Pir Pagara to stop the land grabbers who were bringing to him and his party bad name by bulldozing houses of the poor and illegally occupying them.

Social activist Abdul Haleem Soomro said that some members of land mafia associated with Hur Jamaat were busy encroaching upon government land and the land owned by the poor people which had tarnished the image of the party.

Ali Akbar Rahimoo appealed to SSP of Umerkot to set up a police picket near the land to scare away armed men of land mafia who were terrorising area people. Many villagers had moved applications to local courts against the land-grabbers, he said.