Peshawar     -    On the directive of Commissioner Malakand Division Shaukat Ali Yousafzai the district administration initiated operation against encroachers along with river Swat and sent 21 people behind the bars.

The decision to launch the anti-encroachment operation was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Commissioner Malakand Division Shaukat Ali Yousafzai at Commissioner’s office Saidu Sharif. The meeting was attended by Regional Police Officer Malakand Division Zeeshan Asghar, Deputy Commissioner Swat Junaid Khan, District Police Officer Swat Zahid Nawaz, and other officials. The meeting also approved formation of a committee to work out a strategy for identifying the encroachments and other illegal activities along with the river Swat.

The Assistant Commissioner Bahrain will head the committee and SDO Irrigation and TMO Bahrain will be part of the committee. SDO Irrigation has been assigned the responsibility of identifying encroachments under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa River Protection Act Amended 2014.

Speaking on the occasion, Shaukat Yousafzai expressed outrage over illegal constructions and debris being dumped around the Swat River and said that such behaviour toward the natural environment, especially with the Swat River is intolerable. Strict action should be taken against encroachers, he said and added a committee is being formed to move forward under a comprehensive plan.

On the other hand, the committee has started its work and on the recommendations of the committee, the Swat district administration has sent 21 people to jail under section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

On the other hand, residents of Kalam staged a sit-in against the arrests during anti-encroachment operation in Kalam valley.

The protest was led by Malik Pattan Khan, former Tehsil Nazim Habibullah, Malik Amir Said and Malik Gul Zada. The protesters blocked all roads including the main highway of Mingora and chanted slogans against the administration.

The speakers claimed that citizens of Kalam were arrested in raids on their houses, which is against local traditions and tantamount to victimisation. They announced that their protest would continue till release of the arrested persons.