ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is likely to initiate a crackdown on commercial activities in residential areas after Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed all petitions filed against a ban on non-conforming use of premises.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq dismissed the 87 petitions filed by leading educational institutions and hostels.

The matter was pending before the court since 2015 when a single-member bench of IHC directed the CDA to remove commercial outlets from private houses within three months.

Commercial activities such as guest houses, hostels, restaurants, display centres, showrooms, beauty parlours, saloons, government, private sector and NGO offices, educational institutions, TV

channels, clinics or any other such activity fall within the definition of non-conforming use.

CDA says private schools to be given plots in H-sector

Citizens especially those residing near educational institutions have been facing difficulties as during their opening and closing times the locals virtually confined in their premises because of excessive traffic. Hostels create other problems in the neighborhoods.

According to a report submitted to the court, over 2000 residential buildings in the federal capital were being used for commercial purposes.

Following the earlier court order, the CDA had stopped commercial activities in residential areas except educational institutions, hostels and guest houses who secured stay orders.

Under CDA Ordinance 1960, residential buildings may not be used for commercial purposes and if non-conforming use of any building is proven against owners, they may be punished with six months imprisonment or fine.

Under regulation 20 of the Islamabad Land Disposal Regulations (ILDR) 2005, the penalty may be “cancellation of allotment in case of non-conforming use of building or plot”.

ILDR also defines nine classes of plots out of which there is only one class which is reserved for residence whereas the remaining eight classes are for business and semi-business activities.

The residential plots as per ILDR can only be used for residence of a family.

However, the said regulations allow commercial activities including establishment of guest houses on land meant for business purposes.

The petitioners had challenged the above regulations saying that since they started business after completing certain requirements and were paying government taxes, the CDA does not have the authority to evict them.

IHC after preliminary hearing issued a stay order against the CDA’s drive against the non-confirming use.

However, following the dismissal of the petitions, the restraining order has also lapsed.

The civic agency is now initiating action against residential buildings over non-conformity with ILDR.

CDA’s legal adviser Chaudhry Mohammad Haseeb termed it a landmark decision.

He said the CDA will issue notices to the violators with a direction to end commercial activities in residential sectors.

He said the civic agency would seal the premises for violation and ultimately the lease of the owner would be cancelled.

He however said private schools located in residential areas would be given plots in H-Sector which is reserved for educational institutions.

According to him, CDA had submitted a policy to the IHC on educational institutions and they would be removed from residential sectors gradually.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...