land grabbing in pakistan land grabbing recovery and laws 2023 al sadat marketing

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Land Grabbing in Pakistan: Recovery and Laws 

On the International Property Rights Index, which gauges the strength of physical and intellectual property rights in various jurisdictions and the legal and political frameworks that support their enforcement, Pakistan is ranked 116th out of 129 nations. This rating is not unexpected.

It is generally known that Pakistan’s land rights are insecure, frequently being lost or annihilated as the well-planned schemes of organized land speculators or qabza mafias are carried out within a framework that is open to manipulation and abuse. 

The more brash blatantly forcefully occupy a property. Government employees play a key role as facilitators in this story. Land grabbing is frequently done with the support of strong political forces and under the protection of law enforcement.

Reports of the quantity of land recovered and who it was taken from are frightening, if they are to be believed. Thousands of land parcels worth billions of rupees have allegedly been confiscated so far, and frequently from people associated with or former parliamentarians. Intriguingly, the Lahore High Court criticized the Police Elite Force earlier this year for trespassing on property belonging to the Evacuee Trust Property Board.

Qabza Mafia 

According to the 1993 Eradication of Qabza Group (Activities) Act, it has the following legal definition:

A person or group of people engaging in illegal possession of or eviction from property is referred to as the “Qabza Group.” This can be accomplished through fraud, coercion, duress, assault, or any other illegal means.

Issue of Land Grabbing in Pakistan 

Land rights are not fully upheld in Pakistan, which leaves possibility for coerced transfers and other vulnerabilities in property ownership. The well-thought-out schemes of the Qabza Mafia frequently result in the loss of land by the legitimate owners.

The majority of the time, fraudulent property documents are used in unlawful land grabs to rent and sell homes.

These fraudulent documents fail to transfer ownership to purchasers, placing them in a precarious situation.

Forging of Property Information 

It takes time to fake property ownership and documentation; it doesn’t happen quickly. That’s because certain people will stop at nothing to see that this unlawful process is carried out.

Following the fabrication of ownership documents and income records, a lawsuit is then filed, resulting in a protracted legal battle over the property.

Some land squatters are brazener and use force to seize the land.

But it’s not just the infamous Qabza Mafias. This approach is used by certain people who are not affiliated with the Qabza Groups to evict the legitimate property owners.

Laws Against Land Grabbing in Pakistan 

In a first, the SC ruled in 2016 that a decision about a case of land grabbing would be made solely on the basis of a complaint, and would result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The victims just need to demonstrate their wrongdoing, but if a buyer doesn’t check before buying a home and a case is brought against them, they may also be sentenced to prison.

Anti Land Mafia Cell 

It is vital to note that people who are not affiliated with mafias also abuse the system to evict property owners. Since the beginning of the year, the government has been conducting a land recovery operation in Punjab, the province with the highest population in Pakistan. It has developed a dedicated “1242” helpline for complaints and an Anti-Land Mafia Cell.

Recovery of Possession Ordinance 1965

Now we get to the phase when we frequently learn about building demolition orders on TV and social media. These acts are also the outcome of unlawful habitation and land grabs.

Despite receiving a lot of criticism, it is the right choice legally. In accordance with the Recovery of Possession Ordinance of 1965, the federal government has the authority to reclaim any federally owned property that is being used illegally.

The ordinance also gives the government the right to destroy the structures and, if necessary, to resort to force. Prior to filing a lawsuit, you must grant the other party the right to a hearing and notice.

Similar regulations exist for the Punjab Government as well, such as the Punjab Government Lands and Buildings Ordinance, 1966.

Illegal Dispossession Act 2005 

People who had their property illegally taken away in the past tended to file cases in the civil courts.

The victims in these cases typically had to wait a long period to have their lawful property returned based on the court’s prior hierarchy.

This is why the Illegal Dispossession Act 2005 was enacted to give people a quicker and more efficient way to recover their property without having to sit through drawn-out civil court proceedings.

Any person who unlawfully takes possession of, seizes, or occupies someone else’s property is subject to a 10-year prison sentence as well as a fine, as stated in section 3 of this Act.

Amendments in Act 2005 Due to Criticism 

The Pakistani Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the primary basis for decisions in any case of land grabbing will be the complaint. It is crucial for the complainant to present proof of their wrongdoing.

People must acknowledge the significance of confirming land ownership in Pakistan as a result of these laws. Additionally, there may be a difficulty if there is a later legal ownership dispute.

The accused’s prior history will not be taken into consideration while rendering a verdict in the case. In the past, it was necessary to demonstrate that the defendant belonged to the Qabza Mafia.

It was difficult to establish wrongdoing in that situation, hence the majority of those involved in the transfer of property names in Pakistan used third parties as witnesses.

Due to this, it became difficult and difficult to truly persuade the court that a fake had occurred.

People can now more easily recover their property from illegal holdings thanks to this new legislation.

Land Grabbing Category Introduced in Pakistan Citizen Portal 

During his live telephone conversation with the public, the prime minister announced the creation of a special category on the PCP for filing complaints concerning land grabs.

In order to quickly solve issues facing the populace and solicit their feedback, the former prime minister Imran Khan launched Pakistan Citizen Portal in October 2018.

The creation of the new category would make it easier for the public to report the encroachment of the mafia on state property as well as complaints about their lands being taken.

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