ISLAMABAD: Almost all residential apartments in Islamabad have been occupied by their owners without getting completion certificates from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Sources in the CDA told Dawn that the civic agency had sold out around 30 plots in urban areas where apartments were constructed, but their owners occupied them in connivance with some CDA officials.

Completion certificates are issued after inspection of the building, its fire safety and emergency arrangements, implementation of its building plan and ensuring the structural stability.

The certificates are issued after inspection of building, its fire safety and emergency arrangements

One such example was Margalla Tower in F-10, which had been occupied by their owners without receiving completion certificates, and it collapsed in the 2005 earthquake killing 70 people.

“It seems we are waiting for another tragedy. If any high-scale earthquake takes place and God forbid any Margalla Tower like tragedy happens who will be responsible,” said an official of the CDA when asked about the completion certificates of residential apartments.

He said the CDA had auctioned around 30 residential apartment plots in various sectors that included 11 in F-11, five in G-11, four in F-10 and one in G-8.

The official said only one residential apartment had got completion certificate. There are dozens of unauthorised residential apartment buildings outside the sector areas.

“There are dozens of residential apartment buildings in rural areas which are completely unauthorised,” the official said, adding those constructed in urban areas on allotted plots had followed CDA’s bylaws to some extent but in rural areas they were constructed without any building plan.

However, CDA officials Dawn spoke to said the civic agency, which according to CDA ordinance 1960 was supposed to regulate buildings in entire Islamabad, kept itself restricted only to the planned sectors that resulted into the mushroom growth of illegal commercial buildings in entire rural areas.

The officials said a majority of commercial high-rise buildings did not have completion certificates.

They also said dozens of apartment buildings had been constructed on private land in E-11 without CDA’s approval as the civic agency kept this area exempted from its regulations for decades because of the Golra shrine.

However, a few years ago the civic agency initiated action and sealed dozens of under-construction buildings in the area.

The sources said a commission formed by the federal government to revise the master plan of Islamabad would look into the issue of already constructed buildings in E-11 and other areas.

When contacted, Director Building Control Faisal Naeem said the civic agency would take action against residential apartment buildings which did not have completion certificates.

“We have taken notice of the matter and will look into it,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019