ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Friday came down hard against eight businesses being run in residential buildings in Sector F-7.
The authority’s building control section and directorate of enforcement removed sign boards from eight houses on College Road, opposite to the Jinnah Supermarket. The businesses which faced the civic agency’s axe include a store named Afghan Carpets, a Junaid Jamshed outlet, a frozen yogurt joint named Tutti Furtti, a fitness centre, three boutiques and salons and another store.
The CDA staff dismantled sign boards and cleared encroachments inside the houses, saying the premises will be sealed in the second phase of operations.
New building survey
The civic agency has also decided to carry out a fresh survey of residential buildings being used for commercial purposes in the city.
CDA Chairman Maroof Afzal had on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over a report on non-conforming use of residential units that had been submitted to him. Afzal said the report is based on old data and ordered CDA’s Planning and Design wing to ascertain the latest figures.
The chairman said indiscriminate action will be taken against violators in light of the new findings.
The current CDA data puts the number of non-conforming buildings in Islamabad at 2,057. However, it is believed that the actual number is far higher.
Several embassies, non-governmental organisations, offices of political parties and media organisations, guesthouses, beauty parlours and seminaries are operating in the residential areas. A large number of educational institutes, hostels, private hospitals and clinics are also violating CDA by-laws in various sectors.
CDA’s record states that residential areas in the F-sectors have the most violations with 889 houses turned into commercial outlets, with 225 in Sector F-7 alone. Similarly, 461 houses in the G-sectors are being used for commercial purposes, with 135 in Sector G-6 alone.
In I-sectors, some 375 housing units are in violation of zoning laws, while 53 houses are in non-conforming use in Sector E-7.
After the authority’s inability to force its writ in these sectors, it comes as no surprise that the situation is as bad in the four CDA-administered model villages. Humak village tops the list with 201 such violations while 42 violations have been identified in Rawal Town, 15 in Margalla Town and 21 in Shahzad Town.
Although a huge expanse of land in the Diplomatic Enclave has been dedicated for the establishment of embassies, around 19 foreign missions still operate through residential areas.
The embassies of Lebanon, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Ukraine, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Afghanistan, Romania, Bahrain, Jordan, South Africa, Brazil and Sri Lanka are located in residential areas. Offices of many national and international broadcasters are also operating from residential units.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is among the violators, as its central secretariat is located in a house in Sector G-6/2. The same goes for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, with its central office located in Sector F-8/3. The Pakistan People’s Party also operates out of a residential property.
Moreover, eight seminaries have also been established inside houses in various sectors of the capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.