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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior held the Capital Development Authority (CDA) responsible for construction debris gathered on the banks of major avenues in the city.

Committee members said on Thursday that if the CDA had not allowed encroachment, the city’s important roads would not make a bad impression.

The committee was discussing a point of public importance on the demolition of buildings near Islamabad International Airport on Kashmir Highway, which was raised by Senator Rukhsana Zauberi in the house on Sept 18, 2018.

Standing committee on interior to ‘pursue Farishta case until logical end’

Senator Zauberi said that although she was in favour of operations against encroachment, in Islamabad they have made matters worse.

“The operation has been going on since September 2018 but the CDA has not bothered to remove the debris, which looks ugly,” she said.

Senator Javed Abbasi said that the CDA was involved in encroachment, and if the CDA had not permitted them citizens would not be in this situation today.

“It has become a fashion to buy a plot for a house and then occupy the greenbelt. We have to reconsider these issues of slums and start operations against illegal commercial areas rather than small houses and structures,” he said.

Senator Kalsoom Perveen added that no one had paid attention when a shopping centre and apartments were built in violation of rules.

“The CDA intervened later and started bothering people who had bought apartments in the building. Only small traders are suffering during operations,” she said.

Senator Ateeq Sheikh said that some Chinese nationals were also involved in illegal activities, and were selling liquor in houses.

Committee chair Rehman Malik appeared to agree with Mr Sheikh’s comments, and said that Chinese nationals were living in diplomatic areas and carrying out commercial activities.

He added: “It is unfortunate that operations are held against slums but residents are not given alternate places to live.”

The committee directed the CDA to issue 15-day notices against violations and then remove them.

CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed also briefed the committee on demolitions that were part of the CDA’s anti-encroachment drive, saying that buildings that were constructed on the highway’s right-of-way were being demolished.

Farishta case

The committee also decided that it would pursue the case of 1o-year-old Farishta, believed to have been raped and murdered in the capital, so it reaches a logical end.

Senator Malik said that, like the case of Zainab, who was killed in Kasur, the committee would not remove the matter from its agenda unless the culprits are punished.

“I was shocked to read a report that child abuse in Pakistan increased by 11pc in 2018 compared to 2017, with more than 10 children suffering some form of abuse every day in Pakistan last year, which is highly alarming. It is high time to frame stringent laws to prevent child abuse in all forms,” he said.

Inspector General of Police Islamabad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan told the committee that the victim went missing on May 15 and her father reported her disappearance to the police the next day.

The IGP said that the FIR was not registered the same day because of negligence on the part of police officials. He said a case was registered against the station house officer and police officials, and they have been suspended and arrested.

He added that this case is a blind murder and nothing can be said before the forensic report is obtained, which will direct the investigation towards either murder or rape and murder.

The committee said there should be no delay in presenting the forensic report, as that will raise concerns about its authenticity. Senator Malik said forensic laboratories need to be established in each provincial police headquarters for prompt reports.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2019