ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) management has asked the Ministry of Interior to initiate the process of appointing a chairman and members of the authority after the government failed to do so despite an Islamabad High Court (IHC) to this effect.

The IHC ruled in December 2017 that under the CDA Ordinance civil servants cannot be appointed members or chairman of the CDA, directing the government to appoint a new chairman and members in accordance with the law.

The incumbent management has now written to the interior ministry to initiate the process to hire members and a chairman through a competitive process.

Last December, cabinet agreed to implement IHC ruling that civil servants cannot be made CDA chairman, members

In a letter dated April 2 addressed to the interior secretary, the CDA Member Administration Khushal Khan wrote: “It is further requested that in addition to chairman for whom advertisement process is being initiated by Ministry of Interior there is need to process cases for other members as well.

This will be in accordance with current status of the Section-8 of CDA Ordinance.

“Regarding these members also the Ministry of Interior and CDA had reportedly drafted proposed requirements and same can be processed simultaneously.”

Spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed the CDA’s letter to the ministry, saying: “We requested the interior ministry to appoint all the board members.”

Sources in the CDA said there is a big question mark over the status of the current chairman and board members in light of the IHC judgement.

The previous government took cover under a presidential ordinance, which expired last year. The PTI government also took up the matter before the cabinet, which decided in December 2018 that the judgement would be implemented and directed the interior ministry to initiate the process to appoint a chairman.

However, sources said, the federal government has not advertised the post of CDA chairman, which is currently being looked after by Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed.

The offices of the members planning and administration are also being run on a temporary basis.

Since the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad was formed, the main function of the CDA has been to carry out planning and development work in the city. However CDA officials said that without appointing a chairman and members, long term initiatives cannot be taken.

A senior authority official said that while “the performance of the incumbent management is good”, highlighting a recent auction that earned Rs11 billion, as well as anti-encroachment operations in E-12, Malpur and along the G.T. Road, development activities and efforts to improve the functioning of the CDA, “the fact of the matter is that their status is questionable.”

He said that without a full mandate and tenured posts, decisions to open up new sectors or initiate mega development projects cannot be made.

Another officer asked why the government “is hesitant to initiative the process of appointing professionals through a competitive process?”

“It’s a failure of the government as despite the directive of the cabinet some four months ago, the advertisement has not been made yet,” he said, adding that the delay was not in the CDA’s interest.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019