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Lucrative, but black business: ‘Land grabbing still a major challenge for NUG’

AT News Report-KABUL: Justice Minister, Abdul Basir Anwar who presented a three-year activities report on Saturday, said the unity government has so far not succeeded to prevent land grabbing by powerful individuals in the country. However, without giving further details over grabbing, he hinted toward some steps that had been made to overcome this challenge—something the land mafia sees it as a lucrative business.

Tip-off to those steps, he said that 7,200 hectares of state-owned land has been secured from being grabbed.

“During the three years of the National Unity Government (NUG), we have prevented (people) from grabbing of 7,200 hectares of state-owned land and we have defended numerous claims,” Anwar told newsmen.

He further went on saying, “We have saved land and property worth over $609 million USD, more than 2.4 billion Afghanis during this period.”

Moreover, officials from the Law Enforcement Institute claimed that the rule of law has been strengthened, adding, the property registration law would help to overcome endemic corruption in public offices.

“We can prevent and investigate many cases by implementing the law on registration of properties because it has a main role in overcoming corruption,” said Ashraf Khan Azimi, deputy head of the institute.

In addition to that, Parliamentarians have also acknowledged land grabbing as a major challenge for the government.

“The senior officials from the Ministry of Justice and Parliament leadership would meet each other in Pul-e-Charkhi Prison if the truth comes out,” said Ramazan Bashardost, an MP from Kabul.

Once again discussion on the endemic corruption, particularly, over the issue of land grabbing by powerful individuals is escalated among the elites and common masses.

The country’s 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture. Based on recorded reports, more than 240,000 hectares of land grabbed during the last decade. The Unity Government should come up to the fore with a clear mechanism aimed at preventing the land mafia and restore the grabbed lands. If the government failed in preventing mafia groups from usurping the lands, it would be a weakness of the related institutions. The government must not turn blind eye and assure the people that land mafia and other corrupt elements would soon face the music and all grabbed land would be retaken from the usurpers.

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