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January 25, 2020

Rawalpindi has 4th DC in a short span of time

Top Story

January 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Rawalpindi district has got fourth deputy commissioner in just 18 months with the previous officers having been shown the door because of the influence of the mafia. Rawalpindi is the only district in Punjab that has had so many deputy commissioners in such a short span of time.

In every case, the deputy commissioners were sidelined with a lightning speed due to the interference of the powerful circles, which acted at the behest of the mighty figures. Every time, these officials refused to accept what they were dictated by the mafia. They feared that they would one day face the music at the hands of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or some other government investigating agency for committing illegality.

The vast tracts of land in the surroundings of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have become very lucrative in the wake of development and expansion of housing societies and town. The report of the deputy commissioner, who is also the district collector, about the land disputes or encroachments is considered final to determine its ownership in court and elsewhere.

Despite the control and clout of the land mafia, every deputy commissioner refused to commit any unlawful act as they declined to obey the orders of the commanding figures.

The latest example is the transfer of reputed officer Saifullah Dogar in minutes after he annoyed the influential circles. The immediate spark causing his removal is the clash between special assistant to the prime minister on accountability and Interior Minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Privatisation Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro on a piece of Mandra land, claimed by their close relatives, but the situation was already boiling due to certain actions taken by Dogar that portended his displacement in the near future.

Informed circles say when early this month the Rawalpindi administration carried out an operation to retrieve state land, allegedly encroached by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Khan, Dogar also issued a notice to a well-connected personality for encroaching several kanals of land where he has built structures.

This irked the wealthy man, who lodged a complaint with high authorities and sought their help and interference. The deputy commissioner was asked to withdraw the notice, but he said no stating that the land so encroached was a public thoroughfare and no structure can be constructed on it. He expressed the view that when a senator has not been spared for having occupied the state land, why the rich man should be shown leniency, and the law has to be equally applied to all and sundry.

A portion of the boundary wall around the senator’s house was demolished and more than 10 commercial buildings, wedding halls and marquees in the Walliayat Complex were sealed. The administration claimed that the illegally occupied land belonged to the government and was meant for a highway. The MP termed it political victimisation.

Earlier, Dogar had refused to give permission to an affluent character for fireworks on his sprawling estate on the ground that it was banned in the Rawalpindi district in view of the damage it had done in the past, even claiming loss of human lives. Some highly placed leaders had phoned him to issue the permit, but he did not oblige.

His stiff stand against the well-heeled personality coupled with the report that the Rawalpindi administration prepared, declaring the ownership claim of Shahzad Akbar’s brother Murad forged, became the major reasons behind Dogar’s removal. He worked as the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner for four months.

Knowledgeable officials say Dogar’s predecessor Muhammad Ali Randhawa also treaded the “wrong path” and crossed the redlines when he prepared a report about expansive piece of land showing that an affluent person did not actually own the tract that he has occupied and sold. He was asked to change the report, but he resisted and said that he can’t go beyond the revenue record. In minutes, he was shunted out. He served as deputy commissioner only for seven months.

Prior to his posting, Umar Jahangir worked as Rawalpindi deputy commissioner for seven months. He had been posted just a month before the last general elections. Capt (R) Anwarul Haq has been posted as fourth deputy commissioner of Rawalpindi as Dogar’s replacement.