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Tampering with land record in Chitral may take ugly turn

PESHAWAR: As the provincial government has started computerising the revenue records, no immediate steps have been taken to resolve the issue of tampering with the record, particularly in Chitral district. Official sources said land record had been tampered with in Chitral, the remote and largest district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, posing threat to the peace of the valley.The sources said a gang had hired a Persian-speaking man and tampered with the Chitral state-era record or simply destroyed it. They further said though cases were registered against the employees of the Revenue Department, grievances of the affected land-owning families of the district have not been addressed yet. The sources in the Anti-Corruption Establishment said an FIR has been registered against three civilians and an employee of the Revenue Department for tampering with the land record in Chitral. “A case has been registered but the accused have got bail from court,” said an official, adding, the Forensic Testing Laboratory in Islamabad has also confirmed that the record was tampered with in the case. It is said that land record in Chitral has been poorly managed and guarded due to which many people have been deprived of their land without their knowledge.The Patwari system has not yet been put in place and Chitral’s land record when it was a state is still maintained at the poorly-guarded record-room in Chitral town. The “Misal Khana” has the land record tracing back to the 17th century. There are also land documents prepared during the time of the State Council. When Chitral was merged into Pakistan, the accession agreement gave protection to all the land record and decisions made in the past. Residents of different villages and officials in the Revenue Department told this scribe during a visit to the district that the first case of major tampering with the land record came to light in 2010 when it was revealed that some elements had hired a Persian-speaking Afghan national and tampered with the land record that was mostly in Persian language. A lawyer pleading one such case said the Afghan national was used to get certain documents related to land rewritten. “Suppose, one owned 50 acres irrigated or non-irrigated land in his village or somewhere else and there was the Sanad of that land in the name of his forefathers. This group got the Sanad rewritten in the Persian language but in someone else’s name,” he added. It has also been revealed by official sources that last year some officials of the Revenue Department were suspended when one of the affected land-owners moved a court against the tampering of his land record. Dozens of land owners continued to be embroiled for years in somewhat identical cases of tampering with the record of their ancestral land. Some of these cases are those of Zar Muhammad, son of Zar Safi Khan, of Miragram, heirs of Yor Mast Ali, son of Huzoor Ali, versus Asfandyar Khan, and Asadullah and others versus Siraj Ali, Mahmoor Ali along with many other cases where real owners had to face the shock of their lives when their opponents appeared in the court of law and produced records showing their property in others’ name. Also read here:]]>

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