ISLAMABAD, Jan 14: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Capital Development Authority to retake the 20,000 acres of land the CDA says is under illegal occupation.
In a way the CDA invited the gigantic task it had not been able to undertake for decades when it informed a bench of the court that it had got vacated 80 kanals of park land in Malpur suburbs but much more of its land remained in adverse possession.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, heading the bench, then ordered CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi to make efforts to retake all such land that it had acquired on payment but was in possession of encroachers.
Asking the CDA to go ahead and recover its land, the Supreme Court observed that it would not allow land mafia to grab state land.
Real estate circles called the court`s order “historic” for providing guidelines and spine to the CDA to carry them out.
Usually the CDA bosses have been reluctant to challenge the encroachment and illegal occupation of its land because powerful people lurked behind the acts.
They got the heart to retake the Malpur park land after Tehrik-i-Insaf leader Imran Khan moved the Supreme Court that Sen Nayyar Bukhari, Leader of the House in the Senate, had encroached upon a big area of the state land in Bani Gala and Malpur suburbs and the court vigorously pursued the case.
Now that the court has issued a binding order, the CDA is expected to pick the courage to take on the land grabbers and recover the state land in their possession for developing housing and commercial schemes. In fact the CDA chief assured that much in the court.
A CDA official contacted by Dawn said that although the CDA chief mentioned the figure of 20,000 acres, “nobody knows the actual area under illegal possession”.
Interestingly, former Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat had quoted that figure when he directed the CDA to get it vacated the land some six years ago.
It has been learnt that the CDA would start re-occupying its land in Malpur and Bani Gala where the number of encroachers are comparatively less than in other areas including Sector F-12, G-12, D-13, D-11, F-14 and some land in D-12.
Most of the CDA land on the periphery of Islamabad cannot be repossessed without the muscle power of the Capital Territory administration.