LANDIKOTAL: Hundreds of people belonging to Khuga Khel tribe Tuesday organised a sit-in camp to record their protest against the illegal occupation of their land by National Logistics Cell (NLC) at Torkham border.
Khuga Khel tribe elders, businessmen, political parties’ leaders, customs clearing agents and youth gathered at Torkham border and chanted slogans against NLC officials. They were holding placards and black flags to record their protest against the misbehaviour of the officials and alleged grabbing of their property near Torkham border.
Speaking on the occasion, All Customs Agents Association Chairman Mirajuddin Shinwari said that they had signed an agreement with NCL through which they had allotted a piece of land for NLC officers. The signatories included Khuga Khel tribe elders, including Malik Tajuddin Khuga Khel, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Shah Hussain Shinwari, Malik Abdur Razaq and Zarqeeb Khuga Khel.
Mirajuddin said that NLC was grabbing their land through a gradual process, while adding that the move had badly affected the jobs and small businesses of the tribal people which increased their sufferings. He said that apart from the Khuga Khel tribe, a large number of Shalmani, Afridi and Mulagori tribesmen were also running different kinds of businesses at Torkham border.
He further said that the properties of tribesmen near Torkham were their lone source of income which enabled them to sustain their families. We would not let anyone to occupy the lands as it was the private property of tribesmen and the NLC had no legal right to snatch it from them, he added.
On the occasion, Malik Abdur Razzaq said that due to inappropriate policy followed by NLC, hundreds of shops, hotels and offices were closed down in the area. This was a big blow for the local business community, he added.
He said that the tribal people were in favour of maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the area, adding that the government should not force them to sabotage peace by snatching jobs and businesses from the poor people of the Khuga Khel tribe.
He said it was decided that Khuga Khel and NLC were bound to abide by the mutual agreement signed between the two parties, but the latter had violated the agreement several times by grabbing those properties that were not mentioned in the agreement.
He alleged that member of National Assembly (MNA) Gul Afridi was the main player of the conspiracy fabricated to deprive the Khuga Khel tribe from their valuable properties near Torkham border, worth billions of rupees.
Meanwhile, ANP leader Shah Hussain asked the Supreme Court to conduct audit of NLC as it was involved in rampant corruption at Torkham border. He said the security forces should not support NLC corruption as it was involved in swallowing assets that originally belonged to widows and orphans of the area.
He said that initially NLC had rented a small piece of land, but with the passage of time it occupied over the 98 per cent of land and business at Torkham border. He also said that NCL was conniving with other officials to illegally occupy their assets through a well-thought out strategy in order to compel the local population to migrate to other areas of Pakistan.
Khuga Khel tribesmen said that their sit-in would continue till NLC vacated their lands. They appealed to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to take notice of the matter and address the issue at the earliest.