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ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has yet to formally reject amendments to the Islamabad Displaced Persons Rehabilitation Policy made in 2011.

In November last year, then chairman of the CDA, Afzal Latif, submitted documents to the Supreme Court pointing out that the 1996 Islamabad Displaced Persons Rehabilitation Policy was amended in 2011 to allow affected people - those whose land is acquired by the CDA - to be doubly compensated.

But sources said that a formal notification has not been issued to reject these amendments in the last four months.

Late last year, CDA told the SC the 2011 amendments were aimed at benefiting some individuals

The CDA documents submitted to the SC at the end of 2018 stated that it was “apparent” that the aforementioned amendments to the 1996 policy,

which were not notified for public information in the official gazette, “were aimed at benefitting a few individuals” and could not be said to have been initiated in good faith “and rather smacked of mala fides”.

Sources said that after submitting these documents to the court, the authority did not look into how many people received additional benefits on the basis of these amendments, and the amendments had not been officially rejected so far.

A CDA official, who asked not to be named, said a “proper investigation” is needed into all cases after 2011 “to check for double allotments”. He said that when the CDA had submitted these documents to the SC and stated in writing that they were ‘mala fide’, there was no justification to keep them intact.

“The issue should be taken up by the CDA board and all such amendments should be removed,” the official said.

The documents had revealed that drastic amendments made to the policy in 2011 by the management were an attempt to extend multiple rehabilitation benefits to affected people, including those who had already been rehabilitated.

The six month limit for applying for rehabilitation was also removed.

They stated that multiple benefits, if extended to all people affected by land acquisition in Islamabad prior to January 1996 (as provided in the policy), would result in affected people enriching themselves at the cost of public land and money in addition to creating an unmanageable situation for the CDA.

Multiple rehabilitation benefits, the documents said, would encourage other forms of malpractice, such as rapid encroachment on acquired land to maximise rehabilitation and multiple rehabilitation claims from members of the same family unit.

When contacted, CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said the CDA has already informed the SC that these amendments were ‘mala fide’.

“As far as formally rejecting them is concerned, I will check with the concerned officials,” he added. Mr Ali said that as a matter of principle, the CDA could not backtrack from a position taken before the SC.

Meanwhile, sources said that there was a chance that after 2011, the authority’s land directorate had made a large number of allotments to affected people in violation of the 1996 policy.

“A proper investigation is required,” an official said.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019