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CDA admits major land scam in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court action against the grabbers of state land has led to the disclosure that state land worth around Rs1,000 billion in Islamabad is either in the occupation of powerful Qabza groups or the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is deliberately avoiding to retake its possession.

Chairman CDA Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, while talking to The News, confirmed that 20,000 acres (160,000 kanals) of state land, worth several hundred billion rupees, is not in possession of the CDA and whenever the authority tries to get back its possession, the occupants resist.

He said the most important example is that of Sector E-12, which the CDA needs to develop but some occupants block its efforts. The CDA chairman revealed that besides Sector E-12, major chunks of the grabbed state lands are situated in areas of Sirri Village, Lakhwal (Near Bani Gala), Mal Pur and Said Pur village.

Sources in the CDA revealed that after Sector-E-12, the most important land to be retrieved by the CDA would be Said Pur village, which is mostly occupied by powerful elements. These sources disclosed on condition of anonymity that the same Qabza group from whose occupation the Supreme Court forcibly retrieved the state land in Bani Gala is still occupying big chunks of land in areas of Quaid-i-Azam University and Said Pur village.

They said that the group is so powerful that even the administration of the university backs it and issues statements in its favour. The same group has occupied the state land at many places in Islamabad using its political influence.

A top CDA source also confided to this correspondent that head of the same Qabza group has got many persons inducted into the CDA by using its political influence to continue the occupation of these state lands.

Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said the government had made full payments of these lands according to the market value at the time of purchase from its owners. He said that there was no doubt that these lands had the worth of several hundred billion rupees.

Imtiaz said in the January 17 meeting, the CDA, in collaboration with the Islamabad administration, will devise a full-fledged strategy to take back all these lands in the light of the Supreme Court’s instructions. He said that the exact value of the land will also be determined and it will be taken into possession in steps.

Sources said that Qabza groups occupying most of these lands either belong to major political parties or have the backing of these political forces. They also said that not all of these 20,000 acres are occupied but most of the land is not being retrieved by the CDA deliberately.

Imtiaz Inayat, however, said that in 1960s, the CDA after paying the price of the land to its owners adopted the policy that the possession of the land will be taken when the same will be needed. “In 1960s, the value of the land was less but now it is very high,” Imtiaz said, adding: “Though we face problem in getting possession at some places yet we hope that the people will not resist the CDA in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgment, as either they or their parents have already sold this.”

CDA officials say at times people demand money for vacating the land, which is not possible as the government has already paid the full price of the land according to the market value of the time when it was purchased.

Experts say it was an act of kindness of the government that it allowed these people to continue living on the government lands. They say at places where people are refusing to vacate the government land, it is the right of the government to charge the rent of land from these occupiers for the duration they illegally remained in occupation of the state lands.

Source: The News

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