ISLAMABAD: The top civic body and district administration on Sunday received a rare endorsement from the interior minister for their ongoing operation against illegal marquees and other construction in the city as it demolished 25 structures.
State Minister for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi twice visited the site of anti-encroachment operations being conducted by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration on Sunday.
He directed the authorities to continue their indiscriminate operation against illegal structures in the capital as per CDA’s rules and regulation.
The junior interior minister further directed the CDA, the ICT Administration and the Islamabad Police to work as a team to completely eliminate encroachment from the city.
The CDA had on Saturday launched a massive operation against encroached state property and to remove illegal marquees along the Kashmir Highway.
Several establishments erected on the right-of-way (RoW) of the Kashmir Highway, a majority of them marquees, were razed using heavy machinery, as senior CDA, Islamabad district administration and local police officials witnessed the dozers tear the buildings down.
According to the CDA, during its anti-encroachment operations on Sunday, 25 illegally-built structures or those in violation of CDA’s building regulations were demolished including marquees, hotels, markets and houses.
The constructions which were demolished in Sunday’s operation included four marquees, four huge sheds, one under-construction building, a steel workshop, four markets, one newly-constructed building, global enterprises, motor workshops, a dairaa, a market which comprised many small stores, a panaflex printing workshop, a wood factory and five residential houses built on the right-of-way (RoW) of the Kashmir Highway.
“We also razed those housing units which were built illegally in the RoW of Kashmir Highway in Sector D-12,” a CDA Planning Directorate official told The Express Tribune, adding that the operation against illegal constructions is set to resume on Monday.
According to the CDA, around 70 marquees are currently operating in Islamabad including 12 in Sector E-12, two in Sector H-13, eight in Sectors G-12 and G-13, six in Bharakahu, one on the Simly Dam Road, one in Banigala, three on Park Road, one on Lethrar Road, one in Lake view park, 20 along the Islamabad Expressway (from Sohan- Faizabad to Rawat), seven along with GT Road, two on Kahuta Road and one in Bahria town.
Interestingly, the CDA’s list curiously omits the name of marquees and wedding halls operating on Club Road.
Permission for two of the marquees on Club Road had expired last year, which meant they did not conform to the condition of their lease.
Land for these halls had been leased five years ago through vague permission issued by the building control section (BCS) of CDA.
They are located within a two-kilometre radius of the Rawal Lake and hence fall inside the national park. The BCS had permitted the marquees to operate with consent from former member planning Mustafa Kazmi back in March 2013. They were allotted land in the metropolitan area located in the national park.
CDA Member Estate Khushal Khan, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Shafqaat, SSP Operations Najeeb Bugvi, Enforcement Director Faheem Badshah, Building Control Section director, Machine Pool Organisation (MPO) director, officers of ICT Administration including Assistant Commissioners, officers of Islamabad Police and officers of concerned formations of CDA were present on this occasion.
As many as 350 enforcement officers, other concerned formations participated in the operation while a heavy contingent of Islamabad police, rangers and counter-terrorism force officials provided security.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2018.