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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways has leased out around 4,617 acres of its land during the last three and half years to transform the department into profitable entity by generating more revenue.

The leased-out land was located in seven divisions including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi Multan and Sukkar, an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP.

He said Pakistan Railways had also decided to accelerate its ongoing anti-encroachment operation against land grabbers across the country to recoup its land from different groups ,business organizations and individuals using it for residential, commercial and agriculture purposes for decades.

“The encroachment operation will be launched with the assistance of Railway Police and district administrations of the relevant provincial governments,” he added.

He said that Pakistan Railways had retrieved over 478 acres precious land worth billion of rupees from illegal occupants under its anti-encroachment operation across the country. He said the government was taking several steps to retrieve encroached land from the land grabbers including detailed survey was being carried out to identify the encroached land, occupied by the individuals and under illegal occupation of various government departments.

The official said that First Information Reports (FIRs) were being lodged and cases were registered and sent to PR Judicial Magistrates for expeditious trial.

The issue regarding illegal occupation and possession of PR’s land by government departments and institutions has also been taken up with the concerned departments, he added.

The official said PR owned 167,690 acres of land across the country, of which 90,326-acre was in Punjab, 39,428-acre in Sindh, 28,228-acre in Balochistan and 9,708-acre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

To a question, the official also divulged details of a plan, aimed at exploiting over 25 mega sites of Pakistan Railways commercially under the public-private partnership.