Fighting Corruption: Man who was deprived of his land

 

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Ahmed, an old man had spent much of his life working for Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as a Corporate Technician. During his service, he was granted 32 acres of agricultural land under the Defense Force Quota in the year 1966-1967. With a hope to build his own house, Ahmed continued to pay installments for the plot from his hard earned money until 1987. After his demise in 1993, Ahmed’s son, Mr. Khan, who bequeathed his father, had made persistent futile attempts to approach concerned revenue authorities for the issuance of challan so that he could pay the outstanding dues on the land. But to no avail.

To gain a possession of a land that legitimately belonged to him, Khan was asked for a bribe. The bribery mafia is deep rooted in Pakistan’s government departments. While many Pakistanis often succumb in the face of these hassles and contribute to reinforcing corrupt practices by giving a bribe. However, Mr. Khan was adamant not to be deterred by the demand for money and fiercely resisted it. Fortunately, in 2008, after a long hiatus his ordeal was eventually heeded. On 28 April 2008, Provincial Ombudsman (Mohtasib Ala) Sindh passed an order in his favor and directed Executive District Officer (Revenue) Sukkur to grant complainant a possession of land in 30 days. Despite this, Khan was deprived of the possession of his land.

 

Thereafter, he turned to TI Pakistan. After a thorough scrutiny and verification, TI Pakistan drafted a letter to the Chief Secretary Sindh, Secretary Revenue Sindh and Executive District Officer Revenue with a copy to Provincial Ombudsman (Sindh) requesting an action into the matter. However, for seven months the status of the allotment kept lingering. On 13 May, 2011, after seven months, TI Pakistan sent a reminder to Executive District Officer on the status of complainant; thereafter the complainant successfully received the possession of his land.

Each day, there are thousands of Pakistanis like Mr. Khan who are victims of the widespread corruption in the country. Keeping in view this, in 2009, TI Pakistan established Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre – a public forum that provides ethical and honest legal expertise to solve the corruption related issues of the common man at the grass root level. Since 2009, ALAC has received more than 10,000 complaints and through its successful intervention has exposed and helped resolve number of corruption related cases that a common man in Pakistan confronts on daily basis. It also needs to be understood that TI Pakistan is not an enforcing body; it could only pressurize government and push for anti-corruption reforms in Pakistan. For a change to happen, it is imperative that there are enough people like Mr. Khan who are willing to resist paying a bribe. We also hope that the story of Mr. Khan and our successful intervention will encourage others to inform on illicit practices and help counter and prevent corrupt practices in Pakistan.

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