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November 19, 2019

Police identify 1,484 big fish for action against mafias


November 19, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police have identified around 1,484 members of various mafias including land- grabbers, ice (meth) dealers and usurers so that aggressive action can be taken against them and relief provided to the general public, a source told The News.

After launching a crackdown on mafias involved in land grabbing, usury and selling ice and other drugs in September, the regional police officers (RPOs) and district police officers (DPOs) were directed to compile lists of the criminals in their areas. They were asked to submit a fortnightly report of their progress to the Central Police Office.

“Around 447 big fish of land mafia, 518 ice dealers and 519 usurers were identified from across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa till the end of October,” a source told The News. The source added that more names were added to the list in November.

In recent weeks, the police have slowed down the action against the mafias, particularly those involved in land-grabbing after launching an aggressive campaign against them in September. However, officials pointed out that the campaign lost its tempo because the police had to make security arrangements for the Azadi March of the opposition as well as the National Games held recently in Peshawar. “The actions against the mafias are going on in full swing and will continue across the province to provide relief to the commoners,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Naeem Khan told The News.

An official said that many suspects have been arrested in Peshawar and other districts while further lists were being prepared after checking the record of those labelled ‘grey’ by employing various sources. He added that after a long time an organized action was being taken against the mafias across the province.

The spokesperson for the KP Police, Shahzada Kokab Farooq said by the end of October action had been taken against 79 members of land mafia, 91 ice dealers and 77 usurers. He said more names were added to the list during November and it was not yet final.

“Personal files of 368 land grabbers, 401 ice dealers and 347 people involved in usury have been made till the end of October,” he told The News.

He added that target identified for preventive action included 81 members of land mafia, 166 ice dealers and 46 usurers. A source said that ever since the action began in September, many outlaws having links with politicians and other influential people had started exerting pressure on the police to avoid being arrested. The source said the criminals were on the run and were using their contacts to evade arrest.

There have been several complaints that the land mafia supported by influential people brandishing automatic weapons in double-cabin pickups and jeeps is involved in occupying the land of the innocent people who have no access to the government and police.

In many cases, the criminals demand extortion from the owners of the land in urban, suburban and rural areas. Some of the professional land grabbers take advantage of small mistakes in the transfer of inherited properties with the connivance of the local staff of the revenue department and demand money from the owners. The pathetic revenue system supports land grabbers.

A source said that innocent people are left with no other option but to pay to the criminals after finding no help from the police or revenue department. A major reshuffle of revenue officials in the provincial capital recently also seems to be an effort to fix the issue within the department.

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