The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Monday launched the operation to get its acquired land back from the ‘qabza mafia’, the encroachers and squatters in line with the directions issued by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
On the first day of the operation on Monday, the contingents from the Planning Wing and Directorate of Enforcement of the CDA, led by Director General (Planning) Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu and Director (Enforcement) Muhammad Ramzan Joya respectively, started evicting the illegal encroachers from the CDA’s acquired land located in villages Chak Bera Singh, Jhoke Jheja and part of Lakhwal, adjacent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as in part of Bani Gala.
The CDA contingents were backed by the officials and staff from the ‘Revenue Department’ of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to identify the acquired land and the Islamabad Police made one ‘Reserve’ strength available to provide security and prevent any untoward situation from emerging.
CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi while talking to ‘The News’ said that it was a good beginning to the operation which will continue till all the acquired land of the CDA is recovered from the adverse possession in accordance with the directives issued by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In the past any such attempts by the CDA to evict the ‘qabza mafia’ and illegal encroachers/squatters from CDA’s acquired land had failed in face of violent reactions. Incidentally the sitting chairman of the CDA was the Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, when a big operation was launched back in 1991 to take back the acquired land in Bani Gala.
At that time the local inhabitants as well as those who had constructed huge bungalows and villas in the area took up arms and attacked the police and the CDA staff. There were some casualties and the then SSP Islamabad, Muhammad Pervez Rathore, also received a bullet in his pelvic bone. The then SP of Islamabad, Saleem Bhatti, then took over the command of police engaged in the operation.
Similarly, in another incident when the CDA tried to get the illegal encroachers/squatters from Sector D-12, the operation was abandoned after violent reaction from the illegal occupants of the land. Later, the CDA had to enter into very shady deals with the people claiming to be the local inhabitants and offer them compensations manifolds in addition to what they were already paid and given in shape of cash, residential/commercial plots, agro farms and even agricultural land.
Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told ‘The News’ that the influence of the orders by the Chief Justice is indeed a big support to CDA for making the operation a success. He expressed confidence that the operation will continue till the time all the illegal encroachers from the acquired land are evicted.
He said that the CDA is keeping the registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan informed and updated on the progress being made by the authority for taking over possession of the acquired land.
CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid said that the CDA chairman visited different sites where the operation for getting the possession of land was in progress and directed the enforcement teams to get every inch of CDA land vacated from the adverse possession. He also directed that the operation should be across the board and no concession whatsoever would be given to anyone in this regard and also ordered setting up pickets in the area after getting the possession of land to prevent any illegal occupation of the acquired land in future.
He said that a coordination committee, consisting of the representatives of ICT Administration, the Islamabad Police and the CDA is effectively monitoring the operation. The CDA teams faced some resistance in the beginning, however, operation continued smoothly. He said that the CDA chairman has called upon illegal occupants to amicably vacate the CDA acquired land.
Meanwhile, Chairman Joint Action Committee of the local inhabitants of Islamabad, Raja Jameel Abbasi, while talking to ‘The News’, said that they have cooperated with the CDA for getting the acquired land released from any sort of adverse possession.
However, he said that any attempt to evict the local people from their lands, which are not acquired or for which the agreed compensations have not been paid, would be forcefully resisted.
“We offer the CDA to act in coordination with us and we assure that they will not confront any sort of resistance as long as they will remain within the legal limits. I also appeal to the media to clearly differentiate the actual ‘qabza group’ and illegal encroachers/squatters from the local inhabitants of the area who have been living here for the centuries,” Abbasi said.