JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The municipality of Jalalabad city, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, has illegally distributed land plots to 643 people in violation of the order of former president and Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).
Municipality officials deny the land plots were illegally distributed, but the process of the distribution shows that the plots are distributed in clear violation of 2016 presidential decree.
The central municipality department in 2020 also ordered all provincial municipalities not to distribute land plots which belong to them.
Land distribution by municipality
Documents obtained by Pajhwok Afghan News show that former governor of Nangarhar, Tamim Arif has requested IDLG to allow Jalalabad municipality to distribute Bahrabad land plots.
However, the request letter sent to IDLG on August 20, 2020, was not responded by the organization.
Later, another letter, but this time forged and stamped by Jalalabad municipality, was sent to the governor’s house and requested the land distribution. The letter did not include the name of the mayor but was responded by the governor’s house and allowed the distribution of the land plots.
The letter was sent on November 21, 2020 and it was responded on November 30 when Rohula Amin Hassan was acting mayor of Jalalabad city and Ziaulhaq Amarkhel was governor of the province.
However, it is said that the sending date of the letter is incorrect because the letter was sent at a date when Abasin Baheer was the mayor of Jalalabad city.
After the second letter, a third letter on January 26 signed by Jalalabad mayor, asked urban development department, cadaster department, police and the governor’s house to send representatives for observation of the land distribution process and provide security.
The mentioned sources then sent their representatives for the observation, and their documents are also obtained by Pajhwok Afghan News.
Confliction to the law
A letter from IDLG which was sent by the municipality department head, Sibghatullah to provincial municipalities at the time, emphasized that land plots distribution should be stopped.
The letter read that the decision about the land distribution was made by the Urban Development Council, particularly for the reason that municipalities were embezzling revenues.
A part of the direction from IDLG read, “The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has ordered that governors and mayors have no right to sell land. He directed that an organized plan in cooperation with the private sector should be created on building townships or developing them.”
Based on these documents, Jalalabad municipality illegally distributed the land plots.
Response from officials
On the other hand, former deputy mayor of Jalalabad city, Rahat Gul Ziarmal, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the land plots were not distributed recently, but they were distributed to people who paid money for property in 2010.
He said that these people were also extorted under different excuses for the land over the last few years and that was the reason they were staging protests and complaining.
Ziarmal said that the plots were distributed in consideration of all the mentioned issues.
However, Pajhwok obtained some documents that show that the municipality also distributed land plots each 400 square meters on a cost of 128,550 Afghanis on August 10.
But Jalalabad municipality officials of the current administration say that they would work for recovering all land plots illegally distributed, including the plots of Bahrabad township.
Yahya Ghaforzai, deputy Jalalabad mayor, told Pajhwok that they would take action against illegal townships and land grabbing after they were ordered by senior officials.
He said that he would not talk more about the corruption of the previous administration due to general amnesty, but added they would take legal actions for reforms.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.