Public inconvenience: Encroachments removed from Aabpara Market

Footpaths in the busy commercial centre usually stay occupied by vendors


A vendor tries to stop CDA officials from confiscating couple of plastic chairs from his roadside stall. PHOTO: VAQAS ASGHAR/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: A Capital Development Authority (CDA) anti-encroachment operation was conducted in Aabpara Market on Wednesday to remove vendors’ wares and stalls set up on the footpaths in the commercial centre.

Although most vendors were only told to move their goods inside the shops or to remove their carts from the footpaths, shopkeepers were far from pleased at being ordered to obey the law and stop creating public nuisances.

The CDA Spokesperson, Ramzan Sajid said that the operation was part of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the capital.

He said that it had been decided that during the ongoing drive, encroachments in the busiest city markets would be specifically targeted.

The official said that the drive would continue in the coming days without any favour, as market committees were informed about it beforehand with a direction that shopkeepers should ensure removal of encroachments from outside their shops.

Meanwhile, some minor scuffles broke out where goods and outdoor seating items were confiscated by the CDA Enforcement Wing officials.

One shopkeeper tried to assault a CDA worker with the broken leg of a plastic chair, but was restrained by a police official. The chair had broken, while the shopkeeper was trying to snatch it back from the CDA official.

Most of the violations spotted were at the eateries around the Aabpara Chowk, and at the clothing stores a stone’s throw away.

Basit, a shopkeeper, claimed that the policemen just wanted an outing and the operation was a mere show to create inconvenience for them. He tried to change the subject, when The Express Tribune mentioned that the police and the CDA officials did not seem bothering anyone at any shops where there were no violations.

A policeman who asked not to be named quipped that the behaviour and attitude of the shopkeepers was a reflection of the society at large — breaking the law and playing victim, when called out for it.

The CDA’s anti-encroachment drive has invited criticism from civil society groups for solely targeting the poor and the minorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2016.

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