Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam while addressing a media briefing here on Sunday revealed that around 700,000 acres of forest land have been grabbed by the land mafia as per the latest information collected through the Digitization Process Of The State Land carried out by The Survey of Pakistan. He said the cadastral maps prepared by The Survey of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Baluchistan show every inch of state land and encroached area along with proper dates. The Prime Minister had launched the project of cadastral mapping one and a half years back and now he is going to share the available data with the provinces for strict action against the land grabbers, the minister told.
The minister further added that some 50,000 square acres of the area was covered under the Cadastral Mapping Project in four provinces of the country and the forest land mapping of 30,000 square kilometers showed that around 700,000 acres of forest land has been grabbed illegally by the land mafia. He further added that only in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 160,000 acres of land worth 500bn is under encroachment.“ Qabza Mafia needs to be alert now as Prime Minister will give this data to the provinces that will initiate action to retrieve the grabbed state and forest lands,” He continued.
The Minister further revealed that the figure of land encroachment is the highest in Sindh Province but the provincial government has not shared the data with the federal government as yet. According to the details shared by the minister, 71 percent of the forest land in Benazir Abad in Sindh has encroached. In Rawalpindi, he said, 34 percent area of Takhtpari Forest has been encroached, whereas 57 % area of the Lohi Bher Forest in the suburbs of Islamabad has been encroached by the Land Mafia and the 2703 square kilometers of Karachi forest area has been reduced to 0.4 percent, he underlined
Mr. Amin further underscored that the previous regimes did not pay attention to this criminal act and the present government as per the promise of the PM with the public has come out to save the public and private property from illegal occupants, He said, “Under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation project the encroached 700,000 acres forest area will be recouped and it has the potential to increase the existing forest cover of 5 percent to 8 percent,”. Responding to a query Mr. Amin said that it was for the first time that a government has made a serious attempt to digitize the state-land and the federal government will monitor the anti-encroachment activities of the provincial government.