ISLAMABAD, May 26: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems to have forgotten about the land it was to retrieve from the army over six years ago in exchange for an entire sector for the army’s new General Headquarters.
In 2004/05, two members of the CDA’s Planning Wing, Brig Asad Munir and Brig Nusratullah, convinced the then Director Lands, Pakistan Army to shift its depot situated near the Golra roundabout.
In exchange for the 600-kanal land, the CDA had offered the army an entire sector (E-10) to be built as the new General Headquarters.
The CDA needed the depot, which had served as the graveyard for condemned heavy transport vehicles, to complete the last few kilometers of the Kashmir Highway.
“The army depot was in the way. The idea was to acquire the land and complete the highway,” said Brig Nusratullah.
Instead, traffic today is being diverted to the southern service lane of Sector G-14 that is being used to reach the Grand Trunk Road or the Motorway after crossing the Golra roundabout.
Brig Nusratullah said there were three ways the army could surrender its land; by getting them to lease a required property, offering land in exchange or purchasing the property.
“The army does not prefer leasing. The best option was to offer land in exchange,” he said, adding that the army had agreed to exchange land as it suited its requirements. But if that was true, why had the military not vacated the land six years on?
According to sources in the CDA, the military was not only occupying the land but was also considering building a housing society on it.
The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesman Brig Attique-ur-Rehman did not confirm this, while the Estate Wing of the CDA had no knowledge of the subject.
In fact, a senior official in the Estate Wing looked surprised when the matter was discussed.
“Oh yes, the CDA needs to take it up with the Director Lands at the GHQ,” he said.
A source in the CDA said, “Technically the land of the depot belongs to the CDA, but it has been six years that the CDA has not pursued the matter. Either the civic agency is too generous or too carefree about the losses. It is about time the civic agency pursued the matter and got the land vacated.”
He said the CDA would then be able to complete the five-lane dual carriage Kashmir Highway connecting the Motorway and the new Islamabad International Airport.
The ISPR was emailed questions on the status of the land and how long it would take for the depot to be shifted.
“The questions will be forwarded to the departments concerned for feedback,” said Brig Attique-ur-Rehman, but despite reminders over seven days, the ISPR did not oblige.