Nov 15, 2010

Balochistan: Protest Against Planned Land Confiscation

Muhammad Aslam Bhootani of the Balochistan Assembly voiced his anger about Islamabad’s planned land confiscations in Balochistan. He described the aims of allocating 70,000 acres of Balochi land as a ‘great injustice’.

Below is an article published by The International News:

The Prime Minister’s Office is reportedly exerting pressure on the Balochistan government and provincial revenue department to allot seventy thousand acres of land to Arab Shaikhs in Lasbela district against the wishes of the people of the area, said a speaker of the Balochistan Assembly, Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, on Friday [12 November 2010].

Speaking at a news conference, Bhootani alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office was constantly pressurising the provincial government to finalise the deal by granting the rights of ownership of seventy thousand acres of land to princes of the UAE. In this connection, he disclosed, the provincial revenue department had prepared a summary forwarding it to the provincial government for approval.

Bhootani said he came to know about the deal in India where he was attending a conference and thus he contacted the chief minister and chief secretary of Balochistan urging them to hold back the summary. “The people of my constituency do not want to sell their land and in this connection they had also submitted an application to the provincial revenue department requesting not to sell the land to Arab Sheikhs”, he added.

Condemning the proposed deal, the speaker of the Balochistan Assembly said that the sale of the land is against the wishes of the people of the area. He warned: “If I could not safeguard the interests of people of my constituency then I don’t have right to remain speaker of MPA.” He was confident that the Chief minister Balochistan and his cabinet would back him in the cause of protecting the rights of the people of Lasbela.

Disclosing facts about the same land in Lasbela, he mentioned that the same land was allotted to a federal organisation in the Musharraf era which the present provincial government had taken back. Now, “if the land is again forcibly sold out to the Arabs then it would be a great injustice and the people of the area and they may resist it,” he added.

Replying to a question, he said that the land of Balochistan is not for sale and if anybody attempted to grab it forcibly then the people of the area knew very well as how to protect their land.

"If anybody comes up with a huge amount for entire Balochistan does it mean we should go after the money?", he asked.