Court Sentences Land Mafia Members For 96 Years For Cheating Nisar Afzal Family

The culprits were involved in tampering with papers, fraud, and manipulation in order to snatch the expensive piece of land worth around Rs 3 billion (approximately £10 million).

Court Sentences Land Mafia Members For 96 Years For Cheating Nisar Afzal Family

A District and Sessions Judge of the Anti-Corruption Rawalpindi Court has awarded 96 years of rigorous imprisonment and a total fine of 5.8 million Rs to four people, including two revenue officials, for their involvement in multiple cases of cheating, manipulation, and fraudulent ownership papers forgery to a prominent British Pakistani family.

Anti-Corruption Court Special Judge Ali Nawaz has sentenced the accused, Aurangzeb Patwari, Malik Muhammad Safdar, Muhammad Almas Abbasi, Haq Nawaz Abbasi, and Raja Shahid Ahmed, for fraudulently occupying the lands, using fraudulent means of forgery in papers, of British Pakistani businessman Nisar Ahmad Afzal. The convicts, previously on bail, have been sent to Central Jail Adiyala after the damning judgment.

The case of fraud was registered in November 2021 in Rawalpindi by Hamzah Afzal, of Edgbaston in Birmingham, and his father Nisar Afzal, of the fraud on their lands in Rawalpindi District’s Rajar Tehsil after officials of the land record of Revenue Estate—Aurrangzeb Patwari and Malik Muhammad Safdar—criminally conspired to forge the land record and transfer it to three men with powerful connections: Almas Abbasi s/o Mohammad Aslam; Haq Nawaz Abbasi s/o Kudadad Khan; and Raja Shahid s/o Raja Bashir as beneficiaries of the embezzlement in connivance with each other and with officials of the land record.

The complainants had filed an application before the director-general of anti-corruption in Lahore (Punjab). Anti-Corruption Lahore said in a forensic report prepared by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) that it investigated the accused and established that the record of the land registry was tampered with, signatures forged, and additional pages added to the original land record in order to defraud the British Pakistani family. The court was told that the mutation of the land was not compared or verified by Girdawar, which is a prerequisite under the law, and that “names of Almas, Haq Nawaz, and Raja Shahid seem to have been inserted subsequently” and “this mutation has not been entered in Roznamcha Waqiati.”

Raja Shahid, Almas Abbasi, and Haq Nawaz initially denied being involved in the forgery scheme, but the forensic investigation by Anti-Corruption Lahore (Punjab) proved they were involved in tampering with papers, fraud, and manipulation in order to snatch the expensive piece of land worth around three billion rupees (approximately £10 million).

Anti-Corruption Court Special Judge Ali Nawaz said it was proven beyond any doubt that the accused had manipulated and forged the papers to commit crime against overseas Pakistani Nisar Afzal and his family and sentenced all the accused for 96 years in total on several counts each of criminal misconduct, forgery, fraud, alteration, and using forged documents to make gains: Raja Shahid was sentenced for 17 years and fined 1.2 million rupees; Haq Nawaz Abbasi was sentenced for 17 years and fined 1.2 million rupees; Aurangzeb Patwari was sentenced for 31 years and fined 1.7 million rupees on five counts of criminal misconduct; and Muhammad Safdar Naib Tehseeldar was sentenced for 31 years and fined 1.7 million rupees. The main accused in the case, Almas Abbasi, died during the trial in December 2023.

The judgment noted that entries in the mutation were made in both black and red ink, but a sanction order dated May 16, 2005, allegedly attributed to Revenue Officer Ghulam Mujtaba Naib Tehsildar, was written in blue ink with cuttings. This document, purportedly written by Naib Tehsildar Ghulam Mujtaba, was sent for verification of the handwriting against his admitted signatures, and routine signatures confirmed that it was not authored by Ghulam Mujtaba Naib Tehsildar. Similarly, in mutation no. 5442/1, the signatures of Ghulam Mujtaba,
Naib Tehsildar were sent for comparison with his routine signature. The forensic report confirmed that the signatures did not match Ghulam Mujtaba's, supporting his claim that he never sanctioned these mutations presented by accused Aurangzeb, the former circle Patwari.

The judgment noted that Nisar Afzal has the option to initiate criminal proceedings against the convicted and, at the same time, can claim damages under the relevant law in the civil court.

The judge ruled: “I am of the considered view that the accused persons had committed cheating, fraud, manipulation, and prepared fake documents with the purpose and intention to get wrongful loss to the complainant and unlawful gain for them.”

Last year, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) dropped a mortgage fraud case after failing to establish enough evidence to prosecute him. Nisar Afzal had left for Pakistan around 15 years ago after the case was charged. He had pleaded that he was being victimized in a case in which he had no role to play. The SFO later accepted that it didn’t have evidence and ended the case last year.

Nisar Afzal said in a statement, “I am relieved that finally justice has been done. This was a case of financial terrorism. At the trial, we established through a record of transactions that I owned the land through completely rightful means. The accused were proven to be cheaters, liars, and scammers during the investigation and the trial, but my time and resources were wasted for several years to expose the fraud.

“I suffered so much that some of my family members left for the UK, faced with threats to kill by the accused. This was a case of daylight robbery. I am thankful to the court and the prosecution for giving me justice. Overseas Pakistanis are a great asset, and this should not happen to them or anyone else.”