ISLAMABAD: A two-member bench of the Supreme Court on Friday came down hard on the city managers and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to furnish an implementation report on its master plan 1960 and unauthorised construction and encroachments.

Hearing a case related to encroachments made by Centaurus Mall, the bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar observed that the city had been facing unplanned growth.

Justice Ahmed said the constant negligence of the CDA could turn Islamabad into Lahore and Peshawar. Justice Ahmed asked when the unauthorised construction and encroachments would be removed.

The court asked the CDA whether land in Islamabad was being used in accordance with the master plan. The apex court directed the CDA that land which had been used in violation of the master plan should be identified through Google Map.

Civic agency directed to furnish report on implementation of Islamabad’s master plan

He directed the CDA to initiate action against those officials who had committed misconduct, adding the civic agency should furnish the report within six weeks.

CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed told the apex court that a new CDA board was going to be constituted. Mr Ahmed said when he joined the CDA its financial condition was not stable but now the civic agency has over Rs11 billion.

Justice Ahmed remarked that such funds are useless if they are not spent to mitigate public issues. He said Islamabad was developed after proper planning but it had been ruined.

He said how the CDA was allowing multi-storey buildings, adding the civic agency had been approving multi-storey buildings at the behest of politicians. He said there were no lights on Kashmir Highway from the new airport to the main city. The court also criticised the CDA over encroachments made by Centaurs Mall.

The CDA chairman informed the court that the civic agency once again had removed the encroachment from its plot adjacent to Centaurs Mall, which had been used by the mall administration for parking motorbikes.

The court said the land was not meant to be used by the mall for parking.

Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz had also filed a complaint in the court against the federal government and the CDA saying the civic agency had not handed over powers to Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) under Islamabad Local Government Act 2015.

The mayor was told by the apex court that he can’t absolve himself of his job as the MCI had 11,000 officials and a budget.

However, the mayor told the court that the CDA was making transfers/postings in the MCI directorates. The MCI is also not getting funds, he added.

Justice Ahmed remarked that development activities should be carried out through the local government representatives, adding the CDA should have been part of the MCI.

The court also admonished the city managers over the lack of a proper transport service in Islamabad, adding the CDA should facilitate the citizens by launching a decent bus service or allow operation of taxi and rickshaw service in the city.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2019