Land dispute in Takhar ends but villagers left homeless

A three-month dispute over land ownership between residents in Mujajir Qala village in Takhar’s Khwaja Bahauddin district and returnees from Pakistan has ended after the Taliban intervened, but the decision has left the locals homeless.

Based on a decision by a delegation from the Taliban’s borders and tribal affairs ministry, the locals have been told to leave their homes and in exchange will get land in other parts of the district. This has forced the families to move into rented houses or tents.

The residents said that the distribution of land to 355 families who have been displaced following the decision has started.

Poor economy

The displaced families said however they do not have the financial means to build new homes, due to the poor economy.

“We have been displaced from our homes three months ago and are facing a challenging life,” said Maryam, a displaced person from Muhajir Qishlaq village. “We have been given land but don’t know how to build homes on it. We don’t even have a tent.”

“We are living here in a miserable situation after leaving our homes,” said Zainab, another woman. “My son is ill but I don’t have the ability to feed him or buy him medicine and clothes.”

The residents said they need support from aid organizations to build new homes.

“We are stranded after the (Taliban) decision… I had to build a tent to live under it but I don’t have the ability to build a home and no one has helped us so far,” said Mahmoud, a displaced resident of Muhajir Qishlaq.

We’re not Pakistanis

The returnees said that they belong to the Andar tribe and that they hold Afghan identity cards and are not Pakistanis.

“Some have said that we are from Pakistan, Kochis and from Waziristan and are here to grab the lands forcedly,” said Abdul Jabbar Durrani, a representative of the Andar tribe.

He added: “Why do we have electronic identity cards if we are Pakistanis. We have identity cards from the Daud Khan reign. The area is our property. There was a misunderstanding between the two tribes which has been solved now and they have been given land.”

He said that many houses were destroyed by the locals and the building material taken; but they rebuilt the houses after arriving back in the village.

“I am from this country and this is my home,” said Abdul Mannan, another returnee, showing his identity card.

Land distribution

Based on the Taliban’s decision, each person will receive 500 square meters of land in an area in nearby Khwaja Bahauddin district.

“The dispute is over after months and the land distribution has started but the land is small and is not enough,” said Hasibullah Wahidi, a representative of the displaced families. “They had vowed to distribute 700 square meters of land to each family.”

Over the past three months, the two sides engaged in many clashes against each other, leaving some wounded on both sides.

The area where the land has been distributed has been named the Shafaqat Abad village but the residents of Muhajir Qishlaq said they have lived in the area for the past three decades and are adamant the land belongs to them.