ISLAMABAD: Tensions between the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) have escalated in the last six months as both organisations continue to challenge each other’s authority on various matters.

In the latest exchange, the CDA told the MCI in a letter it could not adopt its service regulations, to which the MCI responded on Wednesday that being an independent organisation it could adopt any rules to run its affairs.

The MCI, formed after the local government elections in November 2015, still does not have funds or rules and regulations to operate. It runs its affairs through temporary policies, such as the adoption of the CDA’s rules, which is otherwise a separate entity.

Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed, who is currently looking after the CDA’s affairs, took notice of the growing rift on Wednesday and directed both the officials who wrote the aforementioned letters to submit a report to his office.

He also referred the matter to CDA Member Finance Dr Fahad Aziz for an amicable resolution.

“A report has been sought from both the officers concerned, while the matter has been referred to the member finance for a solution,” CDA spokesperson Syed Sardar Ali told Dawn. “This is a chronic issue that has lingered for the last two years or so, and we want to resolve it amiably.”

He said Mr Ahmed had taken notice of the ‘culture of letter writing’, which he believes is not a solution. Instead both organisations will have to sit together to resolve their issues.

In addition to financial constraints, the organisations have also been embroiled in a tussle over transfers and postings in devolved departments, which the MCI believes the CDA has nothing to do with even though the CDA thinks otherwise.

CDA officials believe the authority’s staff has been associated with the MCI temporarily and the CDA’s human resource directorate which is partially devolved has the prerogative to issue transfer and posting orders until the MCI’s rules and regulations are framed. So far, the CDA has also been funding the MCI through loans.

The MCI’s adoption of the CDA Employees Service Regulations and the Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations also caught the attention of the CDA human resource directorate, whose director Nishaa Ishtiak wrote in a letter dated Jan 18: “CDA Employees Service Regulations 2010 and the Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations were approved by CDA Board in exercise of the powers conferred under section 51 of CDA Ordinance 1960. Therefore, under the law it is only CDA Board that can amend the referred regulations.”

The letter added that under section 98 of the Islamabad Local Government Act, the federal government is empowered to constitute a local government board that can then deal with service matters, such as transfers and disciplinary cases, with respect to members of the local government.

It said the local government board has not been constituted and no by-laws indicated under schedule 8 of the act have been framed, therefore the notification adopting the two CDA regulations issued by the chief metropolitan officer has no legal standing until the required framework is notified by the federal government.

The MCI and CDA may resolve such issues mutually to manage day-to-day affairs, the letter added.

In response, Chief Metropolitan Officer Syed Najaf Iqbal wrote on Wednesday to the CDA member administration: “The MCI is independent organization, which has right to adopt any rules to run its business. The understanding that the CDA Board can amend the rules CDA Employee Service Regulations 1992 and Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations is true to the extent and purpose of CDA only but cannot be for MCI.”

The letter said the CDA lacks the jurisdiction to tell the MCI to adopt or amend any rules to run its business. It also said the formation of the local government board was not the CDA’s concern, as this is between the MCI and the federal government.

Mr Iqbal however asked the CDA for a meeting to resolve issues.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2019