ISLAMABAD: Federal cabinet has carried out amendments to Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) ordinance (1960), paving the way for appointment of civil servants as board members and allowing the civic agency to launch projects through public-private partnership.

Sources said the cabinet has approved three changes to CDA Ordinance 1960.

According to the existing ordinance, civil servant could not be appointed as members and CDA chairman.

Now the amendment to the ordinance has removed the bar, though the CDA has been appointing civil servant as CDA board members since 1960.

A couple of year ago, Islamabad High Court, while pointing out violations of the CDA ordinance, had directed the government to make appointment in accordance with rules.

Appointment of non-civil servant means the government could appoint CDA board members and chairman through competitive process from market.

Last year, the cabinet had directed the Interior Ministry to appoint the CDA chairman through competitive process and applications in this regard were also called, but later on the process was halted.

Then cabinet decided that instead of appointing members through competitive process, experts from private sectors should be included in CDA board and earlier this year, the cabinet approved proposed names of five private members that include former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari, Quaid-i-Azam University Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali, retired Brig Nadeem Rehmatullah, Ali Asghr and Nayyar Ali Dada.

However, Lashari and Dada refused the offer of the government while the other members could also not be notified.

The federal cabinet also approved deletion of section 8 (f) of the Ordinance, which is related to disqualification of members.

Meanwhile, Federal Cabinet also approved amendment to section 15 to the said ordinance, allowing the CDA to launch projects through for public-private partnership.

In the Past, the CDA had launched E-11 project through public-private partnership, which was struck down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan by terming it against the rules.

The cabinet also approved amendment to section 2 of the Ordinance, which is related to land acquisition through land sharing.

Sources said the said amendments could only be implemented through Presidential Ordinance and subsequent approval of Parliament.

The life of Presidential Ordinance is 120 days and during this period, the government will have to get the amendment approved from the parliament otherwise, the amendments will lapse.

During PML-N government, the amendments were made to CDA Ordinance through Presidential Ordinance, but the then government could not get approval in due course of time from the parliament.

This time too, sources said it would be difficult for the government to get the amendments approved by the parliament as in Upper House, the ruling party did not have majority.

However, sources said after the Senate elections in March, the ruling PTI and its coalition partners will likely emerge as major force in Senate and then the government will be able to get the amendments to the ordinance approved.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020

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