LAKKI MARWAT - People residing on Pakistan Railways-owned land have since long have said that they will launch a protest campaign if Pakistan Railways authorities launched an operation to demolish their houses and shops. 

“Thousands of residents mostly poor have built their houses on railway land and they are living in them since last over two decades,” they said.

 while speaking at a meeting of grand jirga at the residence of former tehsil nazim Fareedullah Khan Meenakhel on Saturday.

The meeting was convened after PR authorities issued notices to the occupants to remove their illegal structures from railway land within one week.

Among others former district naib nazim Advocate Arifullah Khan Meenakhel, Raees of Eesakkhel Haji Muhammad Aslam Khan and Lakki Marwat district bar association president Advocate Naimatullah Khan Khoidadkhel also spoke on the occasion.

“Any operation to raze the houses and other structures by PR officials will make thousands of poor residents of the town homeless”, speakers said. They said the residents would be justified to offer stiff resistance if any attempt was made to displace them from their houses. “The residents who are living in houses built on railway land have no alternate source of shelter and their displacement as well as demolition of their houses will create law and order situation in the area,” they said. They said that, “bulldozers and excavators would pass over us before demolishing the houses of poor people.”

They demanded of the authorities concerned to avoid launching operation to remove houses and other structures from railway land. They said the land should be given to the occupants who had built houses, shops and other structures on it over two decades ago on lease or rent.

Meanwhile, a delegation of area elders called on DCO Nisar Ahmad in his office and apprised him of the possible reaction of people if PR authorities initiated operation to demolish houses built on railway land. They requested the DCO to approach high-ups of Pakistan Railways and persuade them to sell or lease the land to the occupants.