Layyah: Influential people in timber theft
LAYYAH: A former MPA and uncle of sitting MNA is allegedly involved in a large-scale theft of government timber. During patrolling, Block Officer Amjad Gulzar, of Head Bahar forests beat, and forest guard Aziz Baksh saw chopped Shisham trees at stone number 1182124-L and R of Bhagal distributaries.
Residents of nearby area told the officials that Muhammad Aslam and Zafar Baloch, front men of ex-MPA Pir Muhammad Iqbal Shah Bukhari, who is father-in-law and uncle of MNA Pir Saqlain Shah Bukhari of the PML-N, and their accomplices had sliced the trees.
The block officer and the forest guard tracked down the prints of tractor-trolley’s tyres which led them to a saw in Darkhanwala where they found 22 pieces of government timber. On their query, the saw owner said that this timber belonged to Pir Iqbal Shah.
The officials reported this incident to their high-ups. In the meantime, Pir Iqbal along with 10 to 12 men arrived there on their vehicles.
Pir Iqbal’s men thrashed the forest officials after tying their hands and later took them to Pir Iqbal’s outhouse where they detained them, harassed them and threatened them with dire consequences.
Sub-Divisional Forests Officer formed a raiding team consisting of forest guards Hamid Nawaz, Ashiq Hussain, Ghulam Shabbir, Munir Hussain, Riaz Hussain and Ghulam Mustafa, which rescued both the officials from the outhouse three hours after their captivity.
SDFO Malik Azhar wrote a letter No F.C15SS on Aug 16 to the district police officer for registration of case against Pir Iqbal, Aslam, Baloch and others for allegedly stealing government timber worth Rs97,400. The police has not registered a case till the filing of this report.
When contacted, Pir Iqbal Hussain denied the theft charges. However, he admitted that his men had chopped some branches of trees to obtain firewood. He said his political rivals were trying to defame him.