Threading the Labyrinth

CDA claims that 216 roads, streets and footpaths were closed for general public in Islamabad without its permission


Editorial January 28, 2015
It is accepted that security has to be there for embassies outside the Enclave, but beyond those 16 instances, it is difficult to see the justification for another 200. PHOTO: EXPRESS

In the Labyrinth of antiquity there sat at the centre a fearsome monster, the Minotaur. Legend has it that it was killed by Theseus, who then found his way out of the maze by following a thread. Whilst Minotaurs might not actually lurk in Islamabad, a maze it most certainly is. Anybody unfamiliar with the street numbering system — which perhaps not coincidentally was designed by a Greek — will find themselves going in circles very quickly, and moving around an already confusing urban landscape has over the years become even more difficult as a result of unauthorised barriers being erected. The regulatory authority for the blocking of any street, road or public right of way in the capital is the Capital Development Authority (CDA), and to say that the CDA has been falling down on the job — again — considerably understates the matter.

The use of private residences as beauty salons, foreign diplomatic missions, restaurants and cafes, has proliferated as the capital has grown. Many of these establishments restrict access, in the case of foreign missions outside the Diplomatic Enclave for security purposes, and frequently put up barriers without the permission of the CDA. These are not the only offenders as the police, the FIA, and various agencies that are part of the security apparatus, all erect barriers across streets at their discretion. The CDA has now compiled a report, which it submitted to the Supreme Court, that details 216 roads, streets and footpaths in Islamabad that impede the flow of vehicular traffic and pedestrians. None of these routes has been blocked with the authorisation of the CDA, which rather begs the question of its relevance, never mind its legendary inefficiency. Government ministries have overflowed their original buildings, and commercial activity has grown organically outside the zones designated in the master plan for the city, which is now beginning to look very out-of-date indeed. It is accepted that security has to be there for embassies outside the Enclave, but beyond those 16 instances, it is difficult to see the justification for another 200. Time to untangle the Labyrinth.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th,  2015.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

Most Read