ISLAMABAD: City managers are making efforts to make another change to Islamabad’s master plan as the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has moved a summary to the federal government, seeking a change in the use of land in two sub-sectors of H-16.

Sources said the CDA’s planning wing had recently moved a summary to the interior ministry for onward submission to the federal cabinet for making amendment to the master plan and changing land use of two sub-sectors - H-16/1 and H-16/4 - from institution-specific to residential sub-sectors.

The sources said the CDA wanted to create residential plots in the two sub-sectors for the land affected persons of Chantra village whose land had been acquired and were entitled to receive alternative plots.

“Yes, we have moved a summary to the interior ministry. Hopefully the ministry will move it to the Cabinet Division after Eid holidays,” a senior CDA officer said.

Summary sent to govt to carve out residential plots in H-16 sub-sectors

He said a meeting on the subject was likely to be held at the interior ministry next week.

Instead of proper revision of the master plan, the successive governments and CDA managements had been making selected changes to the master plan of Islamabad. Until now, 45 changes had been made.

On the other hand, Doxiadis Associate, which had prepared the city’s master plan, had recommended that the plan should be revised after every 20 years as per requirement. But, instead of proper revision, focus was paid on selective changes. No proper revision has been made, which has resulted in poor planning and mushroom growth of unauthorised construction.

Like previous governments, the issue of revision of the master plan was also taken up by the former caretaker prime minister, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, during a cabinet meeting. He had directed the CDA to propose new names for the commission.

The Kakar-led caretaker cabinet had directed for inclusion of urban planners and other professionals in the commission having national and international expertise. Accordingly, sources said the CDA officials proposed names of professional experts for the master plan commission to do the much-needed revision.

In the summary, which was moved in February this year, the CDA proposed seven names of urban planners out of whom the cabinet would finalise five.

The experts include Dr Shabihul Hassan Zaidi, Dr Imran Mohammad, Dr Abdul Waheed, Umar Farooq, Mohammad Abdullah and Khurram Farid Bargat.

The CDA also proposed a panel of three experts for one post of transportation planning specialist. They names are Khushal Khan, Mian Wamiq Anwar and Azam Khan Lodhi.

Two names of architects - Prof Dr Noman Ahmad and Ejaz Ahmed Qadri - were suggested against one post while the names of former member engineering and planning CDA Hafiz Ehsanul Haq, Dr Pervez Ahsan Khan and Prof Dr Obaidullah Nadeem were proposed against the posts of civil engineer, water resource and management expert and academicians, respectively.

Similarly, for one post of environmentalist, the names of Viqar Zikria and Dr Ghulam Raza Bhatti had been proposed along with urban economist Dr Naveed Iftikhar and senor lawyer Hafiz Arfaat Ahmad.

The ex-officio members included the CDA chairman, who will act as the convener of the commission, and the member planning, chief physical planning and housing, Planning Commission of Pakistan, directors general of Rawalpindi Development Authority and Pakistan Environment Protection Agency, director general planning CDA and any other co-opted member to be nominated by the civic agency’s member planning. But, the caretaker cabinet did not take up the said summary.

When the PTI government came to power in 2018, it announced that the master plan would be revised and the then prime minister, Imran Khan, also formed a commission. However, the commission, after a delay, prepared an interim report in 2020 which was mostly related to building by-laws and regularisation of certain areas, including Banigala.

But the commission left proper revision of the master plan to a professional firm which due to various reasons could not be hired till Mr Khan’s government was ousted. The CDA officials are now pinning hopes on the elected government for approval of the summary related to the formation of the commission.

A senior official said the summary related to H-16 focused on only two sub-sectors and whenever it would be approved, the CDA’s planning wing would create residential plots in these sub-sectors.

He said the second summary was related to formation of a commission and whenever the cabinet gave its approval, it would start working. He further said it could take two years to properly revise the master plan of the federal capital as it was a gigantic task.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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