ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has claimed before the Supreme Court that Imran Khan’s nearly 40-acre estate is among buildings that have been “illegally raised” in the Banigala area, and recommends that it be demolished.

In a report submitted to the apex court, CDA explained that it had surveyed illegal commercial buildings constructed in Banigala. The survey had revealed 122 illegal or unauthorised buildings that were either still under construction or their structural work had been completed.

As per Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) zoning regulations, these constructions are unauthorised and liable for demolition, the two-page report suggested.

Plazas, school among 122 ‘illegally raised’ structures in the area

The report will be taken up on Wednesday by a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, which is hearing a case relating to large scale encroachment and unplanned construction in Banigala.

The matter was initiated suo motu on a letter, written by Imran Khan himself, inviting the court’s attention towards unchecked and unplanned construction in Banigala, the large-scale felling of trees and the pollution of Rawal Lake by sewage.

In his letter, Mr Khan had deplored that unplanned and unregulated plazas were cropping up across Banigala, with no sewerage and waste disposal systems in place.

If left unchecked, he said, all the refuse from these buildings would find its way into Rawal Lake, which supplies drinking water to the inhabitants of Rawalpindi.

On Tuesday, CDA submitted a list along with its report, mentioning Imran Khan’s residence at Serial No 92. Except for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief’s residence, the other buildings on the list mainly mostly include plazas, in addition to a school and a few residences.

The report says that a majority of the unregulated buildings are located on Banigala Road and Raja Hasnain Abbasi Road, while one building is located in Street 2 on Banigala Road, and a wedding hall situated on Dr AQ Khan Road.

Referring to the refuse and waste disposal management of sewage, the report said that the buildings constructed either in Zone-III or Zone IV (Banigala area) are in violation of the ICT (Zoning) Regulations 1992. Therefore, conservancy services including garbage collection and sanitary systems cannot be provided by CDA as per law, the report said.

On the other hand, the occupants are not taking measures to prevent garbage pollution, contamination and environmental hazards in the area, the report deplored adding that punitive action was to be taken by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency against the polluters, the report said.

Referring to the cutting of trees, the report explained that the authority was in the process of setting up a special laboratory in collaboration with the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission for aerial monitoring of lost trees and unauthorised construction.

However, until establishment of this facility, a CDA enforcement team has been deployed to monitor and stop illegal constructions, the report said.

It said the ICT administration was also taking action against encroachers and illegal or unauthorised buildings for violation of section 144 of the CrPC, which was imposed by the deputy commissioner and cases have been registered against 19 individuals in the past two weeks.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2017