Hapless authority: Encroaching with influence

Residents of E-7 fear that political clout and negligence by authorities is allowing encroachments.

Azam Khan January 09, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Residents of E-7 fear that political clout and negligence by authorities is allowing encroachments to creep up unabated, diminishing the area of its natural green beauty.

Two influential residents of the sector have encroached upon around 1000 square feets of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) land at Gomal Road. The CDA officials are reluctant to take action against the persons due to political pressure, it has been learnt.

The owner of House number 66 has occupied 400 sq ft of CDA land by extending his front lawn up to the foot path. His neighbour, owner of house number 70, taking a cue has also extended his driveway into a nearby graveyard, enclosing it on all sides with bamboos and erecting a dog house inside.

A park land on Hill Road is the sole desolate piece of land in E-7, which has become an aversion for residents.

On one end of Hill Road, which connects to the Faisal Mosque, there are three tea outlets and a jhugi (make-shift hut). “The jhugi restaurant is an eye sore and a place of congregation for all sorts of undesirable elements and unknown people,” said Sadaan, a resident. He added that electricity and gas are inexplicably being provided in an unauthorised manner to these people.

The residents complained that the illegal practice of occupying land is distorting the natural beauty of the sector. They have written a number of letters lodging complaints to the CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi for appropriate action against the violators but ‘to no avail’.

Residents of sector E-7 told The Express Tribune that many times the chairman had visited the site. But due to lack of will, he too could not succeed in eliminating the practice of land grabbing in such a planned sector of the city. “If CDA officials are not paying heed towards residents of a posh sector, what hope does it leave for people of other sectors?” one resident said.

“Due to negligence on the part of the civic body, the green sector of the capital city is losing its beauty day by day,” said a federal secretary, who lives in the same sector. He said he had contacted the CDA chairman but could not get any positive response except assurances.

Meanwhile, an official of the CDA Enforcement Wing told The Express Tribune that it was difficult for low-ranked CDA employees to take action against high profile bureaucrats and armed forces officials.

“CDA has been unsuccessful in paying heed to a just demand of these people because of the clout of influential people,” he said.

Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu Deputy Director General Planning CDA told The Express Tribune that the authority would take stern action against the violators.  However, to a query, he conceded that enforcement department was not able to launch operation against ‘influential people’. “I also raised this issue in a Public Account Committee meeting that CDA’s Enforcement Wing required necessary support to launch operation against the land grabbers,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2011.


Zubair | 12 years ago | Reply Encroachments in Islamabad have become endemic in proportions. It is not just the 'posh sector' like E-7, where any little deviation becomes pronounced, if a few hundred feet of land is cordoned off. It is the city as a whole; developed as well as non-developed, that has been encroached upon by land grabbers. Tens of thousands of acres of acquired state land in the rural and park areas has been taken over by vested interests. Those lands have been sold illegally and constructed upon without any lawful sanction. On the other side, acquired lands in Nurpur, Saidpur, Malpur, Phulgran have been under adverse possession for years. The old owners after receiving and accepting compensations and multiple benefits against the acquisition, are not only making renewed claims of ownership rights but are resisting all development works by the CDA and the Government in those areas. The illegal acts have the backing of elected representatives and other powerful individuals and bodies. At minuscule scale, land around apartment /flat buildings is enclosed by those who can throw their weight around or are simple ruffians. Footpaths are treated as part of the house and are taken over as a matter of right. Sides of the roads are hedged for unkempt 'gardens'. Parking on roads is a matter of routine privilege and enclosing a few feet of state land is no offense. Islamabad is an encroacher's paradise. CDA is the guardian angel facilitating it.
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