LAHORE - Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddiq-ul-Farooq yesterday said he had pledged to establish the writ of the government by retrieving the state land from mafia in Nankana Sahib.

He expressed these views while addressing a press conference at his residence here after locals of the area attacked a police team and ETPB staff when they tried to retrieve the grabbed land in Nankana district. “I have two options at this time; to get the state land evacuated or to let the mafia grab 19,000 acres of state land,” Farooq said. He was of the view that local MPA Zulqarnain Dogar was patronising the land grabbers comprising 15 to 20 people, including Ch Riaz Ahmad, local trade union president. He said the land grabbers could go to any extent to grab the state land. “We had issued notices to the land grabbers before starting an operation against them,” the ETPB chairman said and added he had taken local DPO and DCO on board in this regard. He said 100 police officials, 100 ETPB security guards and 15 female police officials were taking part in the operation. When they started demolishing the wall of one Akbar Arain who was illegally occupying it, all of a sudden about 200 armed men attacked the EPTB members and police. The attackers also injured two officers of ETPB and two police inspectors, besides damaging the chairman’s car. Later, the angry mob set the ETPB Nankana office on fire and got the markets of the city closed forcibly, the ETPB chairman said.

Agencies adds: On the other hand, refuting the allegation, MPA Dogar stated that the locals turned violent after women were tortured during the operation. He asserted that the issue would be raised before party’s leadership.

Earlier, at least six policemen and a civilian got injured during clash erupted after the ETPB launched an anti-encroachment drive in Nankana Sahib on Saturday. The operation was launched to vacate eight kanal of land from the encroachers in a village near Kot Sant Ram bypass.

The locals gathered against the anti-encroachment operation and started protesting against ETPB.

As police tried to disperse the mob, angry protestors pelted them with stones, injuring six policemen. In reaction, a civilian was injured as police resorted to baton charge and aerial firing.

The operation was suspended as police and the Auqaf Department workers were outnumbered by the protestors.

The protestors attacked and damaged the ETPB chairman’s vehicle, vandalised the board office later set the building on fire. As a result, property worth millions of rupees and records were gutted.