ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has proposed the constitution of a 15-member commission for the revision of the capital’s master plan, for the first time in the city’s 58 years.

The commission consists of professionals, who, if nominated by the federal government, will propose changes in the master plan of Islamabad.

According to sources, CDA Chairman Afzal Latif finalised the names and on Friday moved a summary to the interior ministry for final approval from the federal government.

Greek firm which had drafted the master plan had suggested revisions every 20 years, but none were made in 58 years

The proposed commission, which is being formed in light of the Islamabad High Court’s directive and subsequent decision of the PTI-led federal government, will include experts such as town planners, architects, environmentalists and civil engineers.

Sources said the summary includes the names of environmentalist Javed Ali Khan, renowned town planner and architect Prof Dr Ghulam Abbas who is the dean of architecture and planning in University of Engineering and Technology, Prof Javed Hassan, environmentalist and architect Ayub Qutab, former CDA member planning Asad Mehboob Kayani and former CDA member engineering Shahid Sohail.

The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency’s director general, CDA Member Planning Ehsanul Haq, director master plan Zafar Iqbal Zafar and the chief metropolitan officer will also be members of the committee by virtue of their offices.

Sources said a town planner and architect will be nominated by the Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners.

They said the interior ministry has the authority to reject or accept any of the names before final notification.

Sources said that the CDA chairman in his summary also requested that other than reviewing the master plan, the proposed commission should also suggest a solution to two complicated issues being faced by the civic agency.

These include the operation of schools and clinics operating in residential areas. According to CDA bylaws, schools cannot operate in residential areas and yet some 400 private schools are located in residential areas.

Sources said the process of revising the master plan was expedited after the involvement of the prime minister, who had recently ordered the interior ministry to conduct the necessary revisions.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CDA Affairs, Ali Nawaz Awan, has also been urging the CDA for an early revision of the master plan.

He said that according to the Greek firm which prepared the master plan, the layout had to be revised every 20 years, but the required revisions were never made.

However, he said, some select changes were made in the master plan by successive government for the benefit of some individuals.

The requirements of the city have also increased with its population swelling to over two million which has led to the mushroom growth of illegal constructions and other planning issues.

Zone-III of Islamabad is a classic example of poor planning as construction was prohibited in the zone, which is dotted with thousands of residential and commercial buildings.

Sources said there will be a ban on construction after the revision of the master plan.

State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi had recently announced that a revision of the master plan will be done in six months.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018