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Around two million acres of government lands grabbed: AFH

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Afghanistan Freedom House (AFH) on Sunday said that 1.95 million of state lands have been grabbed by powerful individuals in 18 provinces in the past 10 years.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, head of the AFH told newsmen that they conducted a three-month search on usurpation of state lands.

He said that the AFH launched the search over trust-worthy documents related to the Independent Land Authority, Special Parliamentary Commission, Attorney General’s Office, Kabul Municipality, Ministry of Urban Development, Independent Directorate of Local Governance, Special Presidential Report and the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption.

He said that the lands have been grabbed in 18 provinces.

Murtazawi pointed out that figures belong to the Independent Land Authority and the Special Parliamentary Commission show that around 1.2 million state lands were usurped in 34 provinces.

Former President Hamid Karzai had earlier ordered for evaluation about usurpation of state lands which found out 4.5 million state lands usurped.

But Murtazawi highlighted that the AFH findings show that 19.5 million state lands had been grabbed only in 18 provinces in the past 14 years.

He did not identify the ‘powerful individuals’ involved in land usurpation, but termed some previous ministers, lawmakers, political leaders, local elders, commanders, provincial council members, governors and some jihadi commanders as elements behind land grabbing.

“So far the judiciary organs have received 10,000 dossiers of grabbers but all of them remained without prosecution and the government has not played any positive role to date.”

Afghanistan Freedom House marked lack of implementation of law, non-suit of dossiers, immunity of guilty, uprising of land price, incapability of judiciary organs for prosecution of law, insecurity, incoordination between administrations as the main factors for usurpation of state lands.

According to the report, if one meter square of land costs 2.5 dollar, 1,297,000 acres of lands estimate 6.4 billion dollars and 4.5 million acres of lands estimate over 22 billion dollars.

AFH urged the government to establish a special court to prosecute dossiers of suspects and those individuals involved in usurpation of state lands should be punished strictly.

Afghanistan Freedom House is a media body founded in 2014 to launch investigation report and research studies in area of journalism.

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