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Land grabbers convicted in only five cases since 2010

Land grabbers convicted in only five cases since 2010

KARACHI: While an anti-encroachment court and a special force were established in the metropolis in 2010 for the speedy trial of land grabbers besides retrieving public property by razing illegal structures, the purpose of the entire exercise has largely remained fruitless with merely 10 per cent conviction rate so far.

During the past seven years, the Anti-Encroachment Force registered 185 cases and sent 110 of them for trial. Of these cases less than half (50) were decided with land grabbers being convicted in only five cases.

So far this year merely 10 cases have been registered against land encroachment in Karachi.

The provincial assembly had passed Sindh Public Property (Removal of Encroachment) Act in September 2010 to provide measures for the removal of encroachment from public property and to retrieve possession. The same year an anti-encroachment court, headed by a district and sessions judge, was established under Section 25 of the Act for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences committed under this Act.

Anti-Encroachment Force registered 185 cases and sent 110 of them for trial

To prevent encroachment on public property, retrieve land possession from encroachers and trespassers and to enforce the provisions of the Act, the Sindh government established a special force (anti-encroachment force) headed by a senior superintendent of police under Section 17 of the Act. The legislation was made after the rising complaints against encroachment upon public property, including amenity plots, and their conversion into private residential and commercial estate. Encroachment of parks, playgrounds, footpaths, drainage, roads, government buildings, illegal katchi abadis and other public spaces had become one of the major problems in the metropolis.

But the force since its establishment has registered 185 cases and filed charge-sheet in just 110 cases.

Strangely enough, 74 cases have not been sent for trial at all. Of the 74 cases, the anti-encroachment force remained clueless about accused persons in 50 cases and filed A-class report. Seventeen cases were cancelled under C-class, six cases were quashed while one case was found bogus and disposed of under B-class.

Of the 110 cases in which suspected land grabbers were charge-sheeted, the court acquitted accused persons in 45 cases and convicted the land grabbers in only five cases. As many as 32 cases have been kept dormant since the accused had absconded while 28 other cases are pending trial before the court.

The anti-encroachment force had registered 37 cases in 2010, 56 in 2011, 45 in 2012, three in 2013, 15 in 2014, five the following year, 14 last year and 10 so far this year. Of the 37 cases registered in the year 2010, 20 cases were sent for trial. The following year charge-sheet was filed in 22 of the 56 cases. Suspects in 28 of the 45 cases were charge-sheeted in 2012. All the cases registered the next year and those in 2015 were sent sent for trial. However, charge-sheet in 13 of the 15 cases registered in 2014 were filed in court.

Five of the six FIRs registered last year were sent to court for trial and all the 10 cases registered so far this year have been sent to the court for trial.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2017

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