MULTAN

Veteran politician Makhdoom Javed Hashmi has given a one-day deadline to the government for handing over a piece of controversial land in Makhdoom Rasheed to the Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture, saying otherwise over 20,000 locals will form a human chain between Vehari Chowk and Makhdoom Rasheed.

Talking to the journalists here on Monday, he added that the locals would stage demonstrations and march on roads to press the government to protect the land from land grabbers and hand it over to the varsity administration. He said that the land was dedicated by his family for the establishment of agricultural university but the grabbers occupied it with the connivance of some officials. He claimed that no member of his family went to the land but his relatives were indicted in the case to victimize him. He added that Mian Shahbaz Sharif had issued written orders for the establishment of Agricultural University but unfortunately the project remained in files. He said that the land was not under occupation of any Hashmi or Arrain, rather the masses were in control of it now.

The son-in-law of veteran politician Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and 64 others were booked by Makhdoom Rasheed police on charges of land grabbing, terrorism and brawl on February 12. The case was registered on complaint of one Abdul Sattar, who stated in his application that the accused attempted to grab 618 acres of land, he had got on lease from Auqaf Department, and took away many valuables including fertilizer bags.

He also alleged that the accused opened indiscriminate firing to terrorize the peasants working on the land. Makhdoom Rasheed police booked Zahid Bahar, son-in-law of Hashmi, Nasir Shah, Mubarak Shah, Faiz Mustafa, Nazeer Shah and 60 unidentified persons under 395 PPC, 7 ATA and other sections.

The said land was under occupation of Hashmi family but when Makhdoom Javed Hashmi quit the PML-N and joined PTI, the Auqaf Department got it vacated through police and former provincial minister Ch Abdul Waheed Arrain got it allotted to his relative Abdul Sattar on a nominal lease amount.