Defence Housing Authority has decided to allot around five acres for a new graveyard in Phase VIII in the vicinity of the Emaar project.
There is a chronic shortage of space. The Phase I graveyard has been full for a decade. The Gizri graveyard is bursting at the seams and squatters have blocked the use of a third option, the Qayyumabad ground. DHA residents have long demanded the authority find a solution.
But now, the people who have bought land around DHA VIII may discover that their plot is next to a new graveyard. “Creek Vista apartments were actually supposed to be a graveyard,” explained Asad Kizilbash, who is a member of the Association of Defence Residents, a body that liaises with DHA on civic problems. “Somewhere along the way, DHA decided to change [the allotment plan for what is now Creek Vista].”
DHA Administrator Brigadier Aamer Raza has now allotted a plot near Emaar. According to Kizilbash, the graveyard will be away from the residences. He hastens to add, however, that he has only seen it on a map and has yet to visit the proposed area.
A source in DHA has corroborated that the graveyard will be around five acres large and that the ground for the graveyard is expected to expand with time.
Brigadier Aamer Raza has said the decision was made in Tuesday’s meeting between him and the Association of Defence Residents and they will try to complete work on it as early as possible.
Kizilbash says that a consultant has already been hired to plan and build the graveyard and according to him they are aiming to open for burials by the end of this year.
Sources in DHA and the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) have rubbished the notion that a graveyard will drive down property values in the area, citing the example of the Phase IV graveyard in Gizri and the valuable property surrounding it.
“What they have to do is ensure that people are comfortable around a graveyard by making a strong and high boundary wall,” Kabir Ali of the CBC said. “It’s obvious that if you build a graveyard near people’s homes it can have an effect on them.”
Ali felt that Phase VIII was the right place because it makes up such a large portion of DHA (45% according to him). An average of three people need a burial every day, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.