ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has asked the Foreign Office to play its role for removal of encroachments on state land by various embassies.

Sources said the CDA on Friday wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with images of the encroachments made by the embassies. The sources said there were 11 cases of encroachments.

Last week, the CDA submitted a report about its anti-encroachment operations in the city to the Supreme Court.

The report stated: “Diplomatic missions are a delicate issue, however, with collaboration of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) the embassies have been sensitised and within a fortnight a meeting will be held under the auspices of MOFA where violations shall be displayed before the missions so they voluntarily remove them failing which the same will be removed under law.”

The sources said following the report, the CDA held a meeting and wrote a letter to Foreign Office informing it about the encroachment made by embassies.

The sources said some embassies, or residences of ambassadors in F-6, F-7 and F-8, had placed security barriers, guard posts and generators etc., outside their plot lines. This was not only a violation of the capital’s master plan but also created problems for the citizens.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed that a letter had been written to Foreign Office.

Meanwhile, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), which have failed to shift denting, painting and repairing shops from markets, have decided to conduct a survey to take steps to shift all such businesses from residential areas.

In the report to the apex court, the CDA also highlighted the issues of workshops operating in markets.

“In compliance of the Supreme Court order CDA, MCI and ICT administration are jointly going to conduct a survey of the whole city and subsequently necessary steps will be taken to remove the workshops and industry from residential areas,” added the report.

It said in order to shift vehicle denting painting and repairing shops, the CDA had established a dedicated automobile workshop in I-10/3 with 117 plots.

The report said 109 plots had been allotted in the area out of which construction took place on 79 and 38 were vacant. The report said five workshops had been shifted from G-7/1 to I-10/3.

The report was submitted to a three-member judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, which is seized with an appeal moved by Pak Gulf Construction, the Centaturus Mall, against the Nov 10, 2017, Islamabad High Court’s decision to launch anti-encroachment campaign all over the city.

Because of the CDA negligence, auto-workshops still function in various markets of Islamabad, causing problems for the residents. The sources said the G-7/1 market (near Urdu University) was a classic example where citizens’ rights were violated by the auto-workshops. This market is located a few hundred metres away from the CDA headquarters. People face routine traffic jams on roads near the auto-market.

Similarly, G-7 Markaz (Khadda Market), which according to the master plan was supposed to be wholesale market, has also been turned into an auto-workshop where people from Islamabad and Rawalpindi get their vehicles repaired.

Meanwhile, in some other markets of Islamabad such as G-8, G-9 and G-10, automobile workshops are also causing nuisance for the residents. However, speaking to Dawn some officials of the CDA said the status of the auto-workshops operating in industry and trade centres was legalised as these centres were meant for various trades.

The officials said workshops operating in markaz and class-three shopping centres should be shifted out of the residential areas.

The CDA spokesperson said markets fall in the domain of MCI but both the CDA and MCI would sit together to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, MCI director Zafar Iqbal, who heads the directorate of municipal administration, said both the organisations were cognizant of the issue and would soon chalk out a way out.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2020