RAWALPINDI: The federal government will include the area around the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) within the Islamabad Capital Territory jurisdiction.

A senior official from the divisional administration told Dawn that outgoing Commissioner Saqib Zafar directed the Rawalpindi and Attock district administrations to survey the area so specific villages could be declared part of Islamabad, after a meeting at the Ministry of Interior. The official said the buffer zone limit will be increased as well.

Illegal housing societies will be removed from the site, he added. The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has begun a survey of the area and asked all housing societies to submit their details with the authority within 15 days or they will face action before the area is handed over to the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

He said the RDA and CDA will work together to define the boundary between Rawalpindi and Islamabad using maps from the Survey of Pakistan. The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) will also be included in the survey.

The official said the federal and provincial governments provisionally defined the limits of the Rawalpindi and Islamabad districts for the 2017 census.

These limits will now be notified on the basis of the census.

He said there were some boundary issues between the CDA and cantonment board last year, and the matter is pending with the federal government.

The CDA and RCB should settle their differences before the area is handed over to Islamabad in the coming days, he added.

He said handing over some parts of the Rawalpindi and Attock districts to Islamabad would help manage flight operations and security and IIA better.

While the Civil Aviation Authority (CDA) will issue no-objection certificates for construction around the capital, the area will fall in the administrative limits of Islamabad and the federal government so that local and security matters can continue smoothly.

Before this, the area fell in the limits of the Fatehjang tehsil in Attock districts and Rawalpindi district, which are under the administrative control of the Punjab government.

The official said that federal government had to seek assistance from the Punjab government to take any action for security purposes.

Mr Zafar confirmed that he issued directions to carry out a survey of the area around the IIA because the government wants to include it in Islamabad’s jurisdiction.

He said the survey will be completed next week.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2019