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November 25, 2020

‘Irregularities’ in land acquisition process in Thar highlighted

National

November 25, 2020

KARACHI: The civil society representatives have shown grave concern over irregularities and human rights violations in the ongoing land acquisition and resettlement processes taking place without any policy in Thar.

They demanded the government to adopt a ‘people-centred’ policy to deal with land acquisition and resettlement related to coal mining, power plants and associated projects in Thar.

They raised these concerns and demands at an online press conference which was organised under the auspices of Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE) here on Tuesday.

Muhammad Ali Shah, Chairman of Pakistan Fisher-folk Forum (PFF), said the promise of progress and prosperity, which the government made with the local people of Thar, had gone sour in the face of ever increasing injustices being meted out to them in land acquisition for coal power projects.

“Dispossession, displacement, deprivation and disempowerment are all that the local people of Thar have gained in wake of land acquisition for coal power projects in their homeland,” he said. Advocate Syed Ghazanfar, a representative of Alternative Law Collective (ALC), said the laws like Land Acquisition Act 1894, under which land acquisition was taking place in Thar, were the remnants of Pakistan’s colonial past. He said the citizens’ rights to property under those colonial laws, he said, were subject to state’s unscrupulous demands for expropriation.

Jan Muhammad Halepoto, a community representative from Thar, said depriving the locals of their ancestral homes, native villages, farmlands and pastures was causing poverty and destitution in Thar. Provision of no alternative land or any compensation against the pastures acquired for mining and power plants was causing serious livelihood challenges for an overwhelmingly livestock-dependent local population.