Unwelcome neighbours: ‘Illegal’ hostels posing threat to I-8 residents’ security

CDA recently served notices to over 1,000 homeowners for violating bylaws.

Danish Hussain July 28, 2013
CDA recently served notices to over 1,000 homeowners for violating bylaws. PHOTO: FILE.


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has made a habit of serving notices to the capital’s land use violators and then failing to take the necessary follow-up action against them.

On July 27, the civic agency had served notices to over 1,000 owners of residential properties who were found to have violated CDA bylaws on land usage.

In a recent letter to CDA Chairman Nadeem Hasan Asif, some senior Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) officers have requested the immediate removal of two hostels that are being run in their residential area.

The officers, who reside in Sector I-8/2, expressed serious reservations over the presence of students from the tribal areas and their visiting guests at two houses on the street that are being used as boys’ hostels.

In the letter, available with The Express Tribune, the officers claimed that the hostels’ establishment has coincided with an alarming increase in thefts in the street and adjoining localities.

To validate their claims, the officers also submitted copies of recently registered FIRs from the local police station.

The owners of the two adjoining houses have been abusing CDA land use laws by using residential units to run hostels, the letter reads.

“The presence of these intimidating young men frightens our children and hinders the free movement of women,” said the letter’s co-signatory, a retired colonel requesting anonymity.

A number of the street’s residents are employed by sensitive state organisations and face security risks due to the freedom with which students can roam around, he added.

PAEC’s deputy chief engineer, who is also a co-signatory of the letter, said the violations were initially tolerated because the hostels’ occupants were mostly students from Punjab. However, news soon broke that tribal persons were given permission to stay at the hostels.

“The hostels, which have a capacity of 90-100 persons, are flooded with students from the tribal areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Their motorcycles and cars are always parked on the street and seriously compromise the privacy of other residents,” he said.

The officer confirmed that he and his colleague had written a similar letter to Asif some time ago to no avail.

The letter bears the signatures of 14 top-ranking PAEC and Pakistan Science Foundation members.

According to CDA records, 185 residential units in the capital are being used as hostels. The number found to have not conformed with CDA bylaws now tallies 1,200.

A CDA spokesperson said that the agency had recently initiated a drive to seal residential units being used for commercial activities.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.

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