Checkposts set up on a median on Margalla Road. — White Star
Checkposts set up on a median on Margalla Road. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad police have been accused of establishing police check posts on greenbelts and right of ways of roads without permission, which the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) says is causing environmental concerns.

“It has been observed with great dismay that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police has constructed moveable and immovable check posts in the name of security on green belts, right of ways etc. without any permission,” reads a letter written by Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz to Malik Amin Aslam, adviser to the prime minister on climate change.

Sources said that via a letter dated Feb 26, the mayor said that the check posts present an “ugly” look and are “utterly in disregard” of the prime minister’s directive “where all of us are trying to safeguard the green belts, right of ways and environment of Islamabad”.

The letter says the Clean and Green Pakistan movement is the hallmark of the present government and that everyone is trying their best to contribute to its success in Islamabad.

The mayor has said in the letter that it is disturbing that the law enforcement agency is conducting activities which are against the drive to save the environment and that the mayor has already brought the issue into the notice of the interior secretary but action is yet to be taken.

Checkposts ‘utterly disregard’ PM’s directive to save environment, mayor tells climate change adviser

“In this regard your kind intervention is required in this matter for removal of these illegal/unlawful police check posts,” the letter says.

When asked, the mayor told Dawn he has taken the issue of the check posts up with the prime minister’s adviser on climate change but declined to share more information.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials told Dawn that a few years ago, the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) had obtained permission from the civic agency for constructing 30 rooms of 10 x10ft size on four major roads including the Islamabad Highway, Kashmir Highway, IJP Road and Lehtrar Road.

“If the rooms were 10x10ft, they would have been legally covered but they are larger than the size permitted and as such the construction is illegal,” a CDA official said.

However, an MCI official said the corporation is supposed to deal with green areas and that fresh permission should have been taken from MCI.

The official also said that the police are also constructing large rooms and kiosk-type pickets in various areas, including the F-10 Markaz near the F-9 gate and F-7 near the flower market, without authorisation.

ICT police (operations) also set up pickets on various roads, the official said.

The under-construction traffic police’s room on a greenbelt near Zero Point along Islamabad Expressway. — White Star
The under-construction traffic police’s room on a greenbelt near Zero Point along Islamabad Expressway. — White Star

“The law and order situation has improved significantly during the last few years so there is no apparent justification for the new pickets. But if they are necessary, the police should get permission from the relevant civic agency before doing any construction,” an MCI official said.

Another MCI official said the main ITP office is also set up on the right of way of F-8 and F-9 and that CDA should allot a proper plot to the traffic police so it moves out from the residential area.

“The issue of pickets is a minor one. There are several other issues which are compromising the beauty and greenery of Islamabad,” an official of CDA’s Planning Wing said.

A police official said that the overall number of pickets was reduced in Islamabad and that pickets were only established at imperative points. He said the traffic police rooms are being constructed in line with the permission obtained from the Planning Wing.

“Our pickets are meant to provide safety to citizens. I do not think they are causing any environmental issues,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2019