KARACHI: On the personal request of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, the Sindh government on Friday announced that it has allotted 9,000 acres of land to Pakistan Army.
The PPP’s apparent conciliatory move came as the party is believed to have gone into a “damage control” mode to lobby support of the political parties through inviting them to an Iftar dinner at Zardari House Friday.
“Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has decided to allot 9000 acres of forest land to Pakistan Army for onward distribution among the heirs of martyred and war wounded military personnel,” said an official statement issue by CM House.
The allotment, which was decided during a meeting held here at the CM’s House under the chairmanship of the chief minister, was made on the request of the army chief who currently is in Russia to attend a defence exhibition. “Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had personally asked for the allotment of the land,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Forest Gianchand Israni, Chief Secretary Siddiq Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Almuddin Bullo, Senior Member Board of Revenue Shoaib Siddiqui, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput, Secretary Forest Sajaad Abbasi and other concerned officers.
The chief minister said that an application of Pakistan Army to Sindh government was pending for the allotment of 35,521 acres forest land in Garhi Yasin, District Shikarpur in 2001.
The file was moving from one office to another. “Since the request has been made for the rehabilitation of martyrs’ families and war wounded military personnel, therefore this request must be honoured,” he said.
Minister for Forest Gianchand Israni told the chief minister that the land in question was located in the area of Golo Daro of Garhi Yasin. “Its 5,000 acres were under illegal occupation of some influential people which were vacated by the Rangers recently,” he said.
The minister further said out 25,000 acre forest land, 5000 acres belong to private owners. Presently, 9,000 acres are available for which his department has no objection if it is allotted to the martyrs’ families.
Chief Secretary Siddiq Memon said the army request for land is for the families of 500 martyrs, of them 200 belong to Sindh. “Since the request is genuine, therefore it should be entertained,” he said.
Senior member Board of Revenue Shoaib Siddiqui said that under the policy forest land can be allotted only for agricultural purposes. The Pakistan Army has already made request to use it for agriculture purposes, therefore the government was authorized to allot the land.
Secretary Forrest Sajjad Abbasi said that under the policy the lease holder of the forest land is bound to cultivate forests on 20 percent of the total holding and 80 percent for agriculture purposes. The chief minister, in principle, approved the allotment of the land to Pakistan Army and directed the chief secretary to move the summary for the purpose.
SOURCE: Business Recorder