ISLAMABAD: Within five months of his posting, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman retired Capt Mohammad Usman has been caught up between two influential stakeholders – a business tycoon and a local politician – for some decisions that may cost him his office.

Dubbed as a “doer and trusted bureaucrat” of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Mr Usman was brought to Islamabad in August by the federal government to serve as chief commissioner and CDA chairman.

He was given some immediate tasks by the government such as completion of Rawal Dam Interchange, Korang Bridge project and execution of Bhara Kahu bypass, a pet project of the incumbent government.

Talking to Dawn, CDA officials said their chief had delivered well and Rawal Dam Interchange was completed within one month, while the Bhara Kahu bypass project, which was started in October, is in its final stages.

They said the chairman paid a number of visits to Bhara Kahu project site to ensure its timely completion. However, amid all the ongoing work, rumours have started to swirl in the CDA that have caused a certain amount of panic among the staff. Some media outlets have also reported that the CDA chairman is going to be replaced with a former commissioner of Rawalpindi.

Sources say some of his decisions may have upset certain quarters; spokesperson refutes reports, terms it hearsay

A number of stakeholders and government officials were approached by Dawn to determine the authenticity of these unconfirmed reports. Multiple sources said there were four major reasons behind the expected removal of the chairman.

They said a developer, who owed CDA billions of rupees, was apparently unhappy over the working style of the CDA chief, following the issuance of notices to the developer, calling on him to deposit due installments. After this development, coincidentally reports of CDA chief’s removal surfaced.

On the other hand, sources said a politician from Rawalpindi, who showed extra interest in CDA affairs, was also not happy with the incumbent chief and wanted to see his man on the post.

Similarly, officials said recently the civic agency had explored options of setting up a landfill site in Kuri area, which had not gone well with operators of housing societies in the area.

Whereas, officials said some CDA officers, who are allegedly involved in Rs20 billion quotation scams, are also making efforts to “get rid of the chairman”, as he had ordered an inquiry against them.

“Yes, these four factors are in our notice, but based on assumption we cannot say anything and if the chairman is removed, we will come up with our point of view,” said a senior government officer.

Meanwhile, a cabinet member, when contacted, denied such reports, saying that he was not in the know about this development. In fact the prime minister had been happy with the performance of the CDA chairman until recently, he said, adding that if at all there was such a move now, he was not in the picture.

When contacted, CDA’s spokesperson Syed Asif Raza said reports of the chairman’s removal were mere hearsay.

“I have also been hearing these unconfirmed reports for the last few days. In my opinion, this is all hearsay. Besides, transfer and posting is a routine matter which was handled by the federal government and not the CDA,” Mr Raza said.

Published in Dawn, January 23th, 2023

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