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Friday Oct 05 2018

Who is Mansha Bomb?

Mansha Bomb, the name first impinged on the national consciousness late last month, when the chief justice of the Supreme Court ordered his arrest while hearing a petition against land grabbing.

“Who is this Mansha Bomb?” Justice Saqib Nisar is reported to have asked in court.

A man running a large land grabbing ring in Johar Town, Lahore, replied the police.

But what further piqued national curiosity was when the police admitted that previous attempts to apprehend Mansha had foundered. Whenever we proceed against him “we start receiving calls to stop the operation,” an official added. Who makes these calls? On this, the superintendent police pointed to another man standing in the courtroom – Malik Karamat Khokhar, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) parliamentarian.

Khokhar denies any wrongdoing. However, after the September 30 hearing, most of Pakistan is asking the same question: Who is Mansha Bomb really?

Malik Mansha Khokhar, alias Mansha Bomb, is the leader of a land mafia operating in Johar Town, a quiet suburb in Lahore. He is wanted by the law enforcement agencies in over 70 cases of land encroachment, firing at the police, murder and attempted murder.

The first case of illegally and fraudulently taking possession of land was filed against him in 1982.

Mansha Bomb is notorious for targeting the poor and depriving them of their properties. One way he has managed to dodge the litany of charges against him is through maintaining a favourable relationship with whichever political party is in power in Punjab.

“Mansha also has a team of well-paid lawyers who shield him from legal troubles,” says a police officer, on the condition of anonymity. He is equally comfortable with the provincial bureaucracy, according to officials. There is rarely a department where he does not know an officer.

The police say that he keeps slipping out of their hands as every time an officer goes after him that officer is then relocated. There are six cases under trial currently where cops have been accused by Mansha of attempts to kidnap him.

But hard times may be around the corner for the criminal. After the Supreme Court took notice of land grabbing in Lahore, the chief justice has ordered for his and his sons' names to be placed on the Exit Control List. Last week, the city administration launched a large-scale operation against encroachments. Under it, 80 kanals of land possessed by Mansha, worth over Rs5 billion, was retrieved. The land, illegally acquired, had been rented out for commercial and residential purposes. Mansha’s cousin was in charge of collecting the rents.