New bylaws allow CDA to regularise PM Banigala house

Published December 21, 2020
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan feeds his pet dogs at his Banigala residence. — Photo courtesy PM Imran Instagram
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan feeds his pet dogs at his Banigala residence. — Photo courtesy PM Imran Instagram

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s palatial Banigala house is legal now as the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has regularised it under new bylaws approved by the federal cabinet last year.

The Islamabad Capital Territory Residential Sectors Zoning (Building Control) Regulations 2020 were finalised by a commission constituted by the cabinet in Dec 2018 for revision of Islamabad’s master plan.

However, after finalising the bylaws and offering recommendations, the commission “left” the revision of the master plan to a consultant firm.

But no consultant firm has been hired so far to revise the master plan.

Imran paid Rs1.2m as approval charges & scrutiny fee

According to CDA officials, Mr Khan’s house falls in sub-zone B of zone IV, where construction took place without permission from the authority, but it “falls in permissible area” where houses can be regularised.

“After charging regularisation fee, we have regularised the house of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” said CDA Deputy Director (building control) Rahim Bangash.

Mr Bangash, who issued the approval letter in March this year, said Mr Khan’s house was constructed without the CDA’s permission, but it was located in a permissible area, where houses could be regularised so the authority had regularised under new bylaws.

CDA officials said that the prime minister had fulfilled requirements to get his house regularised. “Imran Khan, through one of his private staffers, applied for regularisation of his house,” said a senior officer of the CDA, who requested not to be named.

According to the approval letter, Mr Khan has paid Rs1.206 million to the CDA on account of “without approval charges” and scrutiny fee.

“CDA is pleased to approve the building plans for the building be constructed on Khasra No. 1939, Khewat no, 960, Khatooni no, 1652,1654,1656,1658,1660 & 1674 Mouza Mohra Noor, Islamabad,” reads the approval letter.

The CDA officials said the prime minister, like other applicants, had also submitted an affidavit that he would follow the authority’s rule, regulations and coming policies/decisions.

The CDA officials claimed that Mr Khan’s Banigala house was located in Zone IV, where construction was already permissible, but the civic agency had no mechanism in place to deal with building plans of the area, that resulted into unauthorised construction there.

However, sources said, the commission formed by the federal government last year approved new regulations, which paved the way for regularisation of those buildings which had been constructed in the permissible area, but the CDA had no regulations to deal with buildings there.

The sources said Mr Khan was a legitimate owner of 300 kanals of land in the Banigala area and his house was regularised on the pattern of farmhouse scheme, in which owners of a farmhouse could construct buildings on 20 per cent of the land.

They said the covered area of Mr Khan’s house was 11,371.09 square feet, though as per the formula, he was entitled to have a covered area on 60 kanals.

The CDA officials said besides Mr Khan’s house, several other houses were also regularised and all the remaining houses, which fulfilled the civic agency’s criteria, would also be regularised.

The Islamabad Capital Territory Residential Sectors Zoning (Building Control) Regulations 2020 allow the owners of unauthorised construction in Zone II, IV and V to have their buildings regularised by the CDA.

Earlier in 2018, Mr Khan had applied for regularisation of his house. That October, the authority raised objections to his application and asked him to provide missing information. The regularisation process was later stopped, apparently because of incomplete regulations, on part of the CDA.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2020

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