Swati’s wife issued notice for unauthorised construction

Published November 7, 2018
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday issued a notice to the wife of Azam Khan Swati, federal minister for science and technology, for removing encroachments and unauthorised construction from their farmhouse in 15 days. —DawnNewsTV/File
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday issued a notice to the wife of Azam Khan Swati, federal minister for science and technology, for removing encroachments and unauthorised construction from their farmhouse in 15 days. —DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday issued a notice to the wife of Azam Khan Swati, federal minister for science and technology, for removing encroachments and unauthorised construction from their farmhouse in 15 days.

The minister’s farmhouse remained in the news after a confrontation between his servants and neighbours over a cow wandering into his land, and the Supreme Court (SC) also took suo motu notice of the matter.

The notice issued to the minister’s wife Tahira Swati, who is the owner of plot 71, Orchard Scheme, the CDA pointed out to unauthorised construction at the side setback, a basement constructed without approval and encroachment on CDA land.

The notice, available with Dawn says: “the owner of the said plot has committed violations of the Islamabad Building Regulations 1963 and Islamabad Residential Sectors Zoning, Building Control Regulations 2005, by making said unauthorised constructions”.

Sources in the CDA said that in 2016, the authority also issued a notice to Ms Swati for building violations but that time, the civic agency did not mention encroachment on state land.

After the recent controversy, the civic agency mentioned the encroachment, but not the volume of encroachment.

A CDA document points out that CDA has some 0.44 acres of land next to the minister’s farmhouse and that four kanals of this land is encroached on.

CDA sources said that the minister’s wife had in 2015 and 2016 applied for the 0.44 acres of land east of the farmhouse, for it to be rejected both times as there was no policy in vogue for allotting extra land to someone.

However, sources said the minister’s wife was not conveyed the status of the applications.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali told Dawn that in case the violations pointed out by the CDA are not removed in the stipulated time, the civic agency will initiate action against the owner of the farmhouse.

“Previous notices were also not complied with. However, the authority will conduct an operation if the violations are not removed this time,” he said.

After a dispute between Mr Swati’s servants and some neighbours, the minister’s son registered an FIR against the other party for beating their servants and trespassing into the farmhouse. Several members of the same family were sent to jail and released later.

The prime minister also transferred the inspector general of police (IGP), Islamabad via verbal orders on the complaint of the minister for not being cooperative. However, the IGP was later restored by SC.

When the matter reached SC, one of the neighbours said they have reached a settlement with the minister’s family but the apex court rejected their plea and on Friday ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to probe the alleged abuse of power by Mr Swati.

In a recent survey, the CDA found that 117 agro farms of a total of 541 contain excessive construction. CDA bylaws and SC ruling allows 9,500 sq ft of covered area while those with up to 12,500 sq ft are allowed to regularise their farms after paying fines.

CDA officials told Dawn Mr Swati’s farm does not have excessive construction and has not even utilised the 9,500 sq ft he is allowed.

“The issue is of an unapproved basement and construction at the side setback as well as encroachment on CDA land,” a building control inspector said.

Mr Swati could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...
Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...