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PoGB politician raises concern over sale of forest land to Punjab industrialists

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The opposition parliamentary members of the Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB) assembly on Thursday raised their voices against the administrational misconduct of the PoGB ruling party. The assembly members blamed the ruling party for selling land pieces and guest houses built in the dense forest of the area to non-locals, especially from Punjab Province, Pamir Times reported.

During his interruption, an opposition parliamentarian said, “The general public has now raised its voice, now we cannot remain silent anymore. The movement of resistance has started and we will be standing alongside it. As we want to safeguard our lands. Today when anyone who holds power here announces that PoGB is suffering major economic losses, they will lease our lands to industrialists or non-native entities so that profit can be generated for 30 years. This would not be tolerated at all.”

“It is not a matter of 30 years, it is a matter of almost three generations and more. Tell us if PoGB is for sale, and we will return to our homes. Today, the condition has gotten worse and our jungles are not safe anymore,” he added.

While raising the issue of land leasing, the parliament member questioned the sale of guest houses to the industrialists of the Punjab Province.

“Why did the forest department in PoGB build the questioned guest houses? Was doing business in their domain? These guest houses were raised because of certain needs. And now these guest houses are being sold to industrialists of the Punjab Province and along with this our beautiful jungles are also being sold”, he said.

He also elaborated that, “in the dense forests of Skardu, we have heard that about 400 kennels of land is being sold to a businessmen of Punjab province. Our people in PoGB did not foster and protect that land for a wealthy businessman from Punjab province who would come and establish his business on that land. Please spare that land. Another piece of the forest, Whaid Park is being given to business owners, making promises that 50 per cent of the profit will be given to the government. Do you now think that any money made from these profits will reach the general people?”