ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided not to regularise Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Banigala house till the city’s master plan is revised.
The prime minister’s house is located in Zone-IV of the capital where houses can be regularised via CDA’s zoning regulations of 2005 and 2010.
Houses constructed in Zone-III cannot be regularised till changes are made in the city’s master plan as all such construction, except the old villages, is illegal in this zone.
The civic agency had received 200 applications from people, including the PM, to have their houses regularised
However, CDA officials said that as per existing rules, Imran Khan’s house and some two dozen other houses can be regularised after fulfilling the requirements, but the majority of other homes in Zone-IV cannot be regularised till the revision of the master plan.
The Islamabad High Court had also directed CDA not to regularise houses till the revision of the master plan.
The civic agency had nonetheless started the process for regularising buildings in Banigala and the adjoining areas of Zone-IV. The prime minister is also one of the 200 people who had applied to have their houses regularised.
After receiving the premier’s application last month, CDA had stopped processing his case after raising 14 objections and asked him to furnish other required details which are yet to be submitted,
However, the CDA has now decided to not regularise any building in Islamabad till the revision of the master plan.
“The decision was apparently taken to avoid criticism,” a CDA official said.
He said that the CDA had last month moved a summary to the interior ministry, containing a list of experts for the revision of the master plan so it can be notified by the federal government.
Once notified, the commission will be taking six months to make its recommendations, which means it will be at least six or seven months before the process of regularising constructions will be started again.
The CDA on Tuesday also apprised the Supreme Court (SC) in a case related to unauthorised construction in Banigala, that the prime minister has directed it to revise the master plan.
Through a report, CDA officials provided details and the terms of reference of the commission, which will focus on reviewing the master plan and proposals for the next 20 years, assess the efficiency of the existing master plan, consider possible regularisation of all illegal construction done in violation of the CDA Ordinance 1960, the master plan and Islamabad Capital Territory Zoning Regulations, 1992, the Islamabad Building Regulations 2005 and other relevant regulations made under the CDA Ordinance.
The commission will keep in view the increased participation of the private sector in health and education and will make recommendations for development in the short term, medium term and long term.
The three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that previous and incumbent governments did not do anything about Banigala.
The apex court directed the concerned authorities to retrieve Botanical Garden’s land from encroachers and in its verbal order, directed the CDA and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad to cancel the lease of Fun and Joy in Lake View Park. The court was told that the company had not removed violations despite being issued notices.
CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said unauthorised buildings in Islamabad will not be regularised till the commission finalises its recommendations.
He said that in the meanwhile, the civic agency has decided in principle to impose a ban on new constructions without approval.
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2018