ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) demolished over a dozen commercial buildings, marquees and an international restaurant chain’s outlet as part of a grand anti-encroachment operation on Saturday.
The operation was carried out in Zone I of the capital, on the right of way of Kashmir Highway, and in G-12.
A total of 20 people were arrested for resisting and manhandling the additional deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner.
Operation to continue until Muharram, deputy commissioner says
Most of the authority’s previous anti-encroachment operations have been limited to unauthorised structures built by low-income groups and roadside stallholders.
Saturday’s operation was supervised by CDA Member Estate Khushal Khan. Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, Senior Superintendent of Police Najeebur Rehman Bugvi and Rangers and other officials also participated.
CDA’s enforcement directorate, building control section and emergency and disaster management, as well as Rescue 1122 and other departments were a part of the operation.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the operation was held on directions from the prime minister, and would continue across the city and spread to other cities such as Lahore.
The operation was carried out on the CDA’s request, after it completed all the legal requirements such as issuing notices to encroachers, Mr Shafqaat told Dawn.
“A number of them went to court to obtain stay orders, but the CDA finally got decisions in its favour. So it was finally decided to remove the plazas, and were assisting the CDA’s team,” the deputy commissioner said.
Mr Shafqaat, who has also served as head of the CDA’s directorate of municipal administration, said that a number of commercial buildings were built along Kashmir Highway, even though constructing commercial buildings along the highway was not permitted.
“Buildings have been constructed on the Kashmir Highway right of way and in G-12 without the approval of building maps. No construction is allowed on the right of way, but even an international food chain’s outlet was established there, so it was decided to remove them as all the construction was in violation of CDA rules,” he said.
Preparations for the operation began a few weeks ago, Mr Shafqaat said in response to a question.
“As many as 12 large buildings were demolished, which included plazas and wedding halls. However, it was decided not to take action against the poor who sell fruits and vegetables on handcarts, and the houses where families were living were also left out in the operation because we did not want to hurt families,” he said.
“The operation was only held against influential people and big fish. As many as 20 people were arrested as they manhandled the assistant deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner.
“We have cleared the G-12 strip, and are hoping that others also remove the encroachments as it has been made clear that the operation will not be stopped. We have decided to intensify the operation further until Muharram; it will be stopped for a month in Muharram and then will resume again,” he added.
The land in G-12 is worth Rs50 billion, Mr Shafqaat said, but the whole area has become a ‘slum’.
“Negotiations need to be held with the residents of G-12 and the area needs to be development, but at the moment an operation in the sector is not finalised,” he said.
According to a statement issued by the CDA, a massive operation was conducted on the right of way of Kashmir Highway against encroachments and illegal construction, in which many buildings constructed illegally or in violation of CDA building regulations were demolished.
This operation has resulted in the retrieval of several acres of prime state land, the statement said.
More than 350 enforcement and other officials participated, along with more than 300 police, Rangers and Counter Terrorism Force personnel.
The operation began in the morning and included the demolition of a double-storey restaurant built illegally along a petrol station against CDA building regulations.
Marquees illegally established on several kanals of state land and against building regulations were also demolished. The demolished marquees included Venue Marquee, Anabia Marquee, Galaxy Marquee and two under-construction marquees as well.
The Japan Motors showroom, Crown Boys Hostel, One Dollar Shop, Sawat Shanwari, Mehfil Restaurant and Moon Restaurant were also demolished.
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018