50 years of Islamabad: The undemocratic seat of democracy

Bureaucracy termed main 'hurdle' in the way of local govt in the capital.

Azam Khan December 08, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad hosts the parliament but the city itself is not governed democratically, agreed the participants of a roundtable conference organised by the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) in collaboration with Forum of Federations here on Tuesday.

The conference was arranged to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Islamabad and discuss its governance structure. Academics, officials, political leaders, civil society activists and students attended the event.

Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Leader of the House in Senate, complained that the federal capital city had been deprived of a local government system.

He also criticised the Civil Service Rules for not supporting the residents of Islamabad in getting government jobs.

“Many vacancies have been filled on fake domiciles in Islamabad,” he said.

“It is a great mistake to think that the administration of the federal capital has been improved by recruiting more administrators,” he added. He suggested that a New Delhi replica should be implemented to develop Islamabad.

He called the lack of coordination between Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Capital Development Authority (CDA) a major complication in the way of development.

Calling for decent public transport system in the federal capital, he said that the common people were facing a host of problems.

He alleged that the bureaucracy was the main hurdle in the way of a local government system in the federal capital city. Nayyar Bokhari further alleged that encroachers claimed hundreds of acres of land with connivance of CDA officials, with sector G-12 as the best example of this. Dr Werner Thut, vice-president Forum of Federations, urged the participants to come up with solid recommendations after concerted deliberations on the topic.

Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director CCEP, said, “The 50 years celebration of Islamabad is an occasion for collective soul searching on how much the federal capital has epitomised our unity in diversity.”

Inviting suggestions on creation of a Citizens’ Assembly in the federal capital, he said that Islamabad is the seat of democracy in Pakistan but itself the city is not governed democratically although some three dozen parliamentarians owned houses in the federal capital.

Dr Shahzad Waseem, former State Minister for Interior, said that citizens of Islamabad have no say in planning, administration and future of city they live in. Khawaja Zaheer, former federal secretary, demanded the revival of Islamabad’s development plan provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) now buried in the officialdom of CDA.

Dr Pervaiz Tahir, former chief economist, gave a detailed presentation on the financial management of Islamabad.

Rawal Matla, Director General Civic Management CDA, contradicted Bokhari’s view regarding the authority and said that rulers had also been illegally occupying CDA land. Barrister Dr Ehtasham Anwar, Director Excise and Taxation ICT, said there was a dire need for unity of command. He suggested that CDA and ICT be brought under one ministry.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.


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