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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to amend the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ordinance 1960 to pave way for the appointment of bureaucrats as members of the authority.

On Dec 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) removed Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz from the post of acting CDA chairman. The court also pointed out issues in the appointment of bureaucrats as members of the CDA board.

Sources said the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) wanted amendments to at least three sections of the ordinance.

“Yes, we are going to make some changes to the CDA ordinance,” Minister of State for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry confirmed to Dawn.

When asked whether an amendment was also being made to section 8’s subsection F, which deals with the disqualification of the members, the minister said: “Not only subsection F, we are also going to make some other changes.”

The sources said in a summary sent to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, CADD also proposed reducing the term of the CDA chairman from five to three years.

The sources said the prime minister had approved the summary in principle which would be presented to the cabinet soon. The amendments can be passed through legislation or a presidential ordinance.

Meanwhile, official business and day-to-day affairs in the CDA have almost come to a standstill after the removal of Mr Aziz as the acting chairman.

The federal government, which used to appoint choice bureaucrat as the chairman with the approval of the prime minister, is in a fix because the court ruling which termed illegal the appointment of the mayor as the acting head of the civic agency. The court directed that the new chairman should be appointed through a competitive process. The government wax also directed to appoint the new chairman for a fixed five-year term within 45 days.

It is the chairman who looks after most of the affairs of the civic agency. Without a chairman, the CDA board, the decision making body, cannot even hold a meeting.

“Since for the first time the court gave a detailed judgment on the appointment of the chairman and members, the government is taking time to make a final decision,” said a member of the CDA board who requested not to be named.

He said several important decisions were pending because of the absence of the chairman. “We have finalised the auction of commercial plots to be held in February and several land related cases are in courts. So we require the chairman to give approval to such decisions,” added another board member.

He said the chairman was also the competent authority to give approval for construction work worth over Rs50 million. In the absence of the chairman, construction work can also face a delay.

“But until the government appoints a permanent chairman in the light of the court orders, an acting chairman can be named to run the affairs of the authority,” said an official.

“I can’t comment on the appointment of a new chairman because it is the domain of the federal government,” said Malik Saleem, the CDA spokesman.

An official of the civic agency said if the court decision was implemented, members of the board can also lose their posts.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2018