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July 16, 2019

Illegal occupation of forests in Galiyat echoes in KP Assembly


July 16, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday witnessed a heated debate over the illegal occupation of forests in the Galiyat area in Abbottabad district as opposition members put the blame on influential persons belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the situation.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, during the Question Hour, pointed out that senior PTI leader Jehangir Tareen had occupied precious land in the mountainous and forested Galiyat area in Hazara division.

She alleged that the PTI leader and other members of the land mafia had constructed buildings over the forest land.

PML-N’s Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha, who was elected MPA from Galiyat in Abbottabad, supported the PPP MPA and said some powerful and influential people who are part of the land mafia had occupied precious state land in the area. He asked the assembly’s Speaker to refer the matter to the standing committee to probe the issue. Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary party leader and former senior minister Inayatullah, while participating in the debate, asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federal government to take action against the influential land mafia. However, KP Law Minister Sultan Mohammad Khan termed it mere allegations and said the lawmakers should provide proof before doing character assassination of the PTI leaders. He requested the speaker to expunge the name of Jehangir Tareen from the assembly proceedings. The law minister assured the House that the degree Shahadatul Alamia offered by the Wafaqul Madaris would be recognized as equal to university degree and the Education Department and other departments concerned would be issued circular in this regard. The point was raised by MPA Hidayatur Rehman from the Chitral district.

Sultan Mohammad Khan, who also holds the portfolio of Parliamentary Affairs, said the provincial government would uphold its commitment about the construction of the first-ever Economic Zone in Rashakai in Nowshera. He said China and Pakistan had agreed in principle to establish the Rashakai and other economic zones under the CPEC project.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly also unanimously approved four resolutions, including the establishment of the Mental Health Authority under the 2017 Act in the province, facilitation centres for special persons in health and educational institutions and provision of mobile and internet services in the merged tribal districts. Meanwhile, provincial Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai informed the House that the provincial government had announced Rs.0.5 million and Rs0.1 million each for the dead and injured, respectively, in the Tarbela Lake boat accident. He said that 38 people from Torghar and Shangla were on board when the boat sank in the river. The minister said that 26 people in the boat had been declared dead while four were recovered after hectic efforts. He said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan took personal interest in the matter and witnessed the rescue operation carried out by the personnel of the Pakistan Army and Rescue 1122 in the river Indus.

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