PAN, April 2, 2012

Sherzai accused of grabbing state land

By Abasin Zaheer

In this Sept. 18, 2010 photo, Nangarhar Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai speaks in his office in Jalalabad in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. He has been accused of land-grabbing. (Photo: AP / Rahmat Gul)

A number of Momand tribal elders from eastern Nangarhar province on Monday blamed the governor and several traders for grabbing state land, but the provincial administration rejected the claim as baseless.

Tribal elders and district council head Haji Jehanzeb told a news conference in Kabul Governor Gul Agha Sherzai and traders Haji Ghaljai, Haji Maluk and Mullah Jan had grabbed 10,000 acres land in the Surkh Diwal area of Rodat district.

“We want to build a factory in the area but the governor and other encroachers are developing a township there,” he said, adding they had contacted Sherzai several times but he did not help them stop the housing scheme. “If the government doesn’t help us, we will protect our land.”

The government-owned land was close to their area, said tribal elder Haji Lal Baaz, who urged the authorities stop construction work on the township to prevent a possible clash between locals and land-grabbers.

But Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor, rejected the allegations as groundless and said the land was government property.

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