ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was the third in the country’s history that tried to revise the capital’s master plan but could not get it completed.
In December 2018, the PTI government had formed a commission to revise the master plan of Islamabad. Prime Minister Imran Khan held several meetings on the matter but the commission could not complete its task.
The Greek Firms, Doxiadis Associates, which had prepared the master plan, had recommended its revision after every 20 years in accordance with the need of time.
However, no serious effort was made and successive governments kept focus on making selected changes to the master plan through the federal cabinet.
Sources said so far 42 changes have been made by successive governments without any input from professional consultant firms. The PTI government also made a few selected changes to the master plan.
Commission formed in 2018 by PTI govt left revision to a professional consultant which could not be hired
But the commission formed by the government could not complete its task. It was formed in December 2018 which also saw some changes to its composition and finally prepared an interim report, which was mainly related to proposing new bylaws for buildings and paving the way for regularisation of constructions in certain areas. However, in the interim report the commission left the proper revision of the master plan to a professional consultant firm, which could not be hired yet.
A couple of years ago, the commission and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) invited bids for hiring a consultant but due to harsh criteria none of the four consortium companies, which had applied, could qualify for getting the contract.
Later, new and relaxed terms of reference (TOR) for hiring a consultant compared to the previous TORs were drafted and presented before the commission last month. The commission approved the TORs in principle.
The sources said that the consultant was yet to be hired and once hired it could take more than one year to complete the task as the city has been facing several challenges such as unauthorised construction on private land, unauthorised housing societies, environmental challenges and slums.
CDA officials said that in the past two major attempts were made for revision of the master plan – in 1993 and in 2007 - but both the times the proposed revision could not get approval from the federal cabinet.
With the departure of the PTI government, as it has already lost its majority in the National Assembly and the prime minister will face a no-confidence motion on Saturday, the revision of the master plan, it seems, will also be shelved.
“Chances of completion of the revision of master plan is next to impossible. I don’t think the new government will follow the initiative,” said one of the senior officers of the CDA.
When contacted, CDA’s spokesperson Syed Asif Raza claimed that the revision of the master plan would be completed.
Asked about the delay of three years, he said: “We had called bids, but no firm could qualify for it. Now, new bids will be called soon,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2022