ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Saturday through a letter finally allotted 225-kanal to the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in lieu of its land falling in Bharakau bypass project in an effort to end the ongoing controversy over the issue.

The said land is in the contiguity of existing QAU boundary pillars in the Malpur mouza. The CDA says the land has been allotted to the university is free from all encumbrances.

The CDA’s letter issued on war-footing basis on Saturday night has requested the QAU registrar to nominate a focal person to assist the Authority for taking the possession of the swapped land.

“It is reiterated that the land swap matter arising out of the CDA Board’s decision of June 17 [2022] would require no further changes in the allotment letter of October 15, 1988,” says the CDA’s letter.

The CDA issued the letter after its chairman retired Captain Mohammad Usman Younis took notice of the land swap controversy that had been circulating on social and main media for the past few days.

Earlier in the day, the CDA issued a press release stating that the chairman had directed the Land, Estate Management-II and Planning Directorate to issue the land swap letter contiguous to the QAU in the same Mulpur immediately. He had also strictly directed the concerned officials to complete all the formalities in this regard by Saturday night.

The CDA chairman had also directed the members Estate and Planning to stay in contact with QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali in order to resolve the issue.

It quoted the CDA chairman to have stated that educational institutions like the QAU were playing pivotal role in imparting knowledge to the country’s future generations.

Moreover, the CDA stated that only Eucalyptus trees were being chopped off for the project and against one falling tree, 10 saplings would be planted while the university would also be provided a passage through an underpass.

The CDA chairman had expressed his commitment to preserve and promote the sanctity of the educational institute, stating that no stone would be left unturned in this regard.

The CDA chairman had constituted a committee on Friday to look into the matter and resolve the land swapping controversy with the QAU.

The QAU VC is a non-executive board member of the CDA as well.

Earlier, the QAU VC had told Dawn that the bypass was a project of the federal government which had decided to acquire the university’s land in public interest.

“Being a non-executive board member of the CDA, I protected the QAU’s interests. In the board meeting, I contested my university’s case successfully as I pleaded how the CDA can deprive the educational institution of its land for a road project,” he had said.

“To this, the board had agreed that the QAU would be provided alternate land in the adjacent area,” he said.

Around 650-kanal of the QAU land falls in the alignment of a road being built under the project.

The controversy had begun when QAU Registrar Dr Raja Qaiser, through a letter informed the CDA that construction of the Bhara Kahu bypass was initiated on QAU’s land without allocation of the substitute land and it was “brewing unrest and resentment amongst faculty, employees and students of the university”.

The QAU shares a tormenting history with the CDA where total land of QAU is 1,709 acres, four kanals and 13 marlas, for which demarcation has not been done to date despite suo motu of the Supreme Court, court judgment, report of survey of Pakistan, and directions from the Standing Committee on Education, according to the letter. Encroachment/settlement on QAU’s land was also not cleared, it added.

In his letter, the registrar had further stated that the CDA was requested for allocation of the substitute land, removal of encroachment and demarcation of complete land without any delay.

QAU faculty members including Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal and Dr Ilhan Niaz had visited the road construction site in a token protest on Friday.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2022

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