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Capital to be divided in two districts before budget

ISLAMABAD, March 13: Minister for Law Babar Awan on Sunday said the decision on bifurcation of the capital into two districts East and West will be implemented before the coming budget.

“Islamabad will be divided into two districts before the coming budget of 2011-12,” the minister said while inaugurating a newly constructed road in village Jhangi Syedan. The government, he said, will provide all basic facilities for the people of the capital, and referred to establishment of Islamabad High Court (IHC) as a great example.

Endorsing the idea, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Tariq Pirzada said the local administration has to do it before the end of current fiscal year under the Islamabad High Court Act 2010. “Under the act, we are bound to make two separate districts in Islamabad, and ensure establishment of two separate session divisions in the capital.”

He said when the matter of making two session divisions was sent to him for implementation, “I wrote a letter to the interior ministry, referring CrPC provision that it could be happen only if two separate districts are formed.”

But sources said some top officials of the local administration and Islamabad Citizens` Committee (ICC) had advised the interior ministry to follow Rawalpindi`s judicial model.

The ministry has been urged that some elements in the government were wrongly interpreting the IHC Act-2010, which requires establishment of two session divisions in Islamabad. But efforts are under way to make two separate districts.

Officials of the local administration point towards a study of Rawalpindi revealing three session divisions in one district, asking why Islamabad is being divided for setting up two session divisions.

But Mr Prizada said even before the act`s promulgation, “we were considering setting up two separate administrations mainly for uplift of rural areas, which have remained neglected since the establishment of Islamabad.”

However, ICC office-bearers fear the bifurcation plan will increase the budget of local administration and police. The present annual budget of local and district administration and the police is around Rs4.5 billion.

Setting up two districts will complicate matter for the Capital Development Authority (CDA). It would have to re-demarcate its municipal limits because its Directorate of Municipal Administration will not be able to provide municipal services in the two proposed districts. Under the existing set up, the CDA`s municipal limits are confined only to urban areas. Under the plan sent to the interior ministry, 11 union councils of the capital will become District East and the urban area and one union council Shah Allah Ditta will be the District West.

About the possibility of setting up the two districts before the next fiscal year, the chief commissioner said: “It will be done in two to three months as all necessary work has been completed.” He said when Islamabad was established, its population was only 500,000. “But now it has gone up to two million.

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