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CDA unsure about areas added to Islamabad after master plan finalised

May 06, 2018


CDA team hold a discussion after fixing a pillar west of Nicholson Monument near Rawalpindi-Peshawar section of G.T. Road and Margalla Pass to demarcate the federal capital’s boundary. — Photo by the writer
CDA team hold a discussion after fixing a pillar west of Nicholson Monument near Rawalpindi-Peshawar section of G.T. Road and Margalla Pass to demarcate the federal capital’s boundary. — Photo by the writer

The boundary of the capital city is still unclear due to two separate notifications, each demarking a different area for the federal capital.

According to a 1963 notification, the capital spreads over 906 square kilometres and this area is mentioned in the master plan of the city as well, which was prepared before the city was a district and was referred to as the capital site.

In 1979, when the capital site was excluded from Rawalpindi in light of the Local Government Act 1979, another notification was issued in 1981 in which several mozas, or revenue estates, of Rawalpindi and Murree were also made part of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Since then, the ICT revenue department has been dealing with the land affairs of these mozas, such as Phulgran and Bobri, which are not part of the master plan site of 1963 but are part of the ICT limits defined in 1981.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) formed its zoning regulations in 1992, as amended in 2010, on the basis of the ICT limits.

The issue of these extended areas surfaced again during the ongoing demarcation of boundaries as the CDA still considered the 906 sq km area, mentioned in the master plan, to be part of Islamabad and has no idea how to deal with those included in the territory in 1981.

On the other hand, the added mozas are very much part of Islamabad, as Phulgran is a union council of the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad and these areas are also part of NA-49, now NA-53, as declared by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In its current exercise of fixing boundaries, the CDA has been following the 1963 notification, according to one of its directors.

He said that the CDA has nothing to do with the areas not mentioned in the master plan and that the ICT administration is supposed to deal with its affairs.

However, another official Dawn spoke to said that CDA’s zoning regulations of 1992 and 2010 are based on the ICT limits and that it cannot, therefore, ignore them.

Boundaries still unclear to city managers due to two notifications demarking different areas for capital

“In case we ignore the ICT limits, then which organisation will play the regulatory role? Who will monitor construction activities there?” he asked.

CDA Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani admitted that CDA is facing problems in identifying boundaries.

“There is overlapping and confusion in both the notifications. I have decided to follow both,” he said, adding that there is added confusion due to some clauses in the 1981 notification referring to the 1963 notification.

Mr Kayani said he will consult with the attorney general’s office as the boundaries are being marked on Supreme Court orders. He said the matter is sensitive as the elections are approaching.

The CDA has conducted surveys based on both notifications so it is prepared either way after the meeting with the deputy attorney general, he said, adding that in the mean time, the exercise by the CDA and Survey of Pakistan is ongoing for fixing the boundaries according to the 1963 notification.

CDA officials said that according to the master plan prepared in 1960, some mozas were also eliminated from the limits of the capital and that the area of Islamabad may be reduced if the later notification is implemented.

A CDA official said the civic agency had based the zoning regulations on the Local Government Act, 1979 but was reluctant to own the limits which were a production of the act. He said this confusion is benefiting builders who can construct buildings in these areas without having to follow any regulations.

According to the CDA’s master plan, Islamabad is spread over 906 sq km and is divided into five zones.

Zone I, is comprised of 222.4081 sq km, Zone II of 39.6791 sq km, Zone III of 203.9333 sq km, Zone IV of 282.5287 sq km and Zone V of 157.9466 sq km.

CDA’s directorate of master planning has been supervising the process of the demarcation of boundaries and concrete boundary pillars with proper coordinates are being fixed on the boundaries.

ICT revenue department’s head, Additional Deputy Commissioner Kamran Cheema, whose office has been dealing with land documents in extended areas could not be approached for comment.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2018