CDA stops marking Islamabad’s boundaries in disputed areas

Updated November 18, 2019

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CDA will not be erecting pillars around Islamabad’s boundaries with KP, Punjab and Rawalpindi cantonment areas. — Kashif Abbasi/File
CDA will not be erecting pillars around Islamabad’s boundaries with KP, Punjab and Rawalpindi cantonment areas. — Kashif Abbasi/File

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has stopped erecting boundary pillars following resistance in four disputed areas until the matter is decided by the federal government.

The CDA will not be erecting pillars around Islamabad’s boundaries with Khyber Paktunkhwa, Punjab and the Rawalpindi cantonment areas.

CDA officials Dawn spoke to said that other than the disputed sites, the project to mark Islamabad’s boundaries has been completed. The authority has halted the project at the direction of the district administration until the matter is decided by either the federal government or the Council of Common Interest (CCI).

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said that villagers in Kentla and Telhar in the Margalla Hills stopped their team and said their land was part of Haripur in KP, not Islamabad.

Project to place boundary pillars has been halted until federal govt or CCI decides disputes between CDA and KP, Punjab and cantonment areas

He said that the matter was then taken up by Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and the Haripur deputy commissioner, who decided that the authority would not erect pillars until this is decided by the federal government.

Marking the boundary in Faizabad, where Islamabad shares a boundary with Rawalpindi, and I-12, which borders the cantonment areas, has also been stopped, he said.

Mr Ali said overall 90pc of the project to install boundary pillars has been completed.

The project was launched on orders from the Supreme Court in June 2018 and was supposed to be completed in 90 days. Several extensions have been given in this regard, the last one on Sept 30 this year.

Mr Ali said 900 out of 1,032 pillars have been erected, and the remaining will be as well, as soon as the matter is resolved by the federal government.

Mr Shafqaat told Dawn that the situation between Islamabad and KP is somewhat complicated.

“According to the coordinates of the Survey of Pakistan, the area in question falls in Islamabad but according to the revenue records of the villages the area belongs to KP,” he said.

After holding meetings on this issue, Mr Shafqaat said he has decided to move a summary to the Ministry of Interior to take up the matter in a relevant forum, such as the CCI.

“Islamabad and KP are both provinces and one of them will have to give up its land by de-notifying the disputed area. Our summary is almost ready and will be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior in the next few days,” he said.

He said the dispute regarding areas between Islamabad and Rawalpindi near Faizabad is nearly settled, since Rawalpindi authorities are close to persuaded that the disputed area falls in the capital.

The Rawalpindi Cantonment Boardand CDA have been discussing how to resolve the issue of the I-12 boundary, he said.

CDA officials said that under a 1963 notificati0n, the capital is spread over 906 square kilometres. This area is also mentioned in the capital’s master plan, which was prepared before the capital was a district and was referred to as the capital site.

In 1979, the capital site was excluded from Rawalpindi in light of the 1979 Local Government Act, and another notification was issued in 1981 that made several revenue estates (mozas) from Rawalpindi and Murree a part of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The ICT revenue department has been dealing with the land affairs of these estates, which include Phulgran and Bobri, since. Many of these areas were not a part of the 1963 master plan site, but are a part of the ICT limits defined in 1981.

CDA officials said residents in these areas also face boundary issues, and revenue directorates deal with revenue records from some parts of Faizabad that fall within Islamabad’s limits.

“All these issues need to be resolved once and for all,” an official from the CDA’s revenue directorate said.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019