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Anti-encroachment drive: Civic body and Islamabad admin stuck in a deadlock

ISLAMABAD: The operation against land grabbers has reached a deadlock, with CDA shifting the responsibility onto ICT Administration and police.

However the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, when contacted, rejected the notion that such operations were a part of their duty.

A senior CDA official said that CDA Chairperson Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi was informed time and again that the authority lacks equipment and manpower to initiate an operation against the encroachers, but nothing was done. When enquired about the current status of the operation, the official said that it is the responsibility of the administration to conduct the operation in sector I-11 Islamabad.

However, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Pirzada, while talking to The Express Tribune, rejected CDA’s stance and said such an operation was solely the authority’s responsibility. Despite that, the administration was extending full cooperation to CDA in recovering state land, he added.

Pirzada said, “If the authority is reluctant [to carry out the operation], then it should transfer ownership of the land to ICT administration and we will conduct the operation without discriminating between ‘katchi’ or ‘pakki’ abadis.”

When contacted, Inspector General Islamabad Police, Wajid Ali Durrani, said, “CDA wants to make the capital police its scapegoat.”

He said he had requested the civic authority to initiate small-scale operations before moving to a large-scale operation. “But the authority wanted us to initiate a massive operation, which would cost lives and eventually have to be abandoned,” he said.

He added that the Islamabad police do not have enough resources to carry out an anti-encroachment drive. Official sources said the police have sent a list of anti-riot material required for the operation to the Interior Ministry. However the items have yet to be received.

Earlier CDA’s Enforcement Directorate, with the help of ICT administration, was set to launch an operation against land grabbers in Malpur Village, Sector I-11/1 Islamabad and Sector I-14/4 Islamabad on March 15, in compliance with Supreme Court’s orders. Malpur will be the site of the new diplomatic enclave, while Sector I-11/1 Islamabad will be developed to address the housing shortage in Islamabad.

According to a recent survey conducted by the ICT administration there are 5,815 people living in 1,018 families in the katchi abadis of Sector I-11/1 Islamabad and Sector I-14/4 Islamabad.

Of these, 47 Afghan families, consisting of 177 persons, are living in sector I-11/1. The other families mostly belong to Federally Administered tribal Areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2011.

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