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Anti-encroachment drive: ‘Political will required to launch operation’

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Division is dissatisfied with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for failing to control encroachments in kachi abadis. Federal Secretary Cabinet Division Nargis Sethi made this clear during a meeting on Wednesday, held here to discuss encroachments in sectors I-11 and I-14.

“The civic authority is wasting our time,” Sethi said, responding to justifications provided by Mian Wahiduddin, who was filling in for the CDA chairperson. He had said that “a strong political will is needed to launch operations against encroachers in kachi abadis.”

The committee said that it is the prime duty of the CDA to take action against the encroachers and directed the authority’s officials to submit a comprehensive report within two weeks, encompassing steps taken by the civic body against the violators.

CDA officials said that most of the people in kachi abadis are living there unauthorised, and have refused to vacate the area despite having received compensation money. They said that CDA is incapable of launching an operation against the violators without support.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior CDA official requesting anonymity said that CDA Chairperson Imtiaz Inayat Elahi was informed time and again that the authority lacks equipment and manpower to initiate operation against the encroachers, but nothing was done. He claimed that it is the responsibility of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, and not of CDA, to conduct an operation in sector I-11 against the encroachers.

According to a recent survey conducted by the ICT Administration, there are 5,815 people among the 1,018 families living in the katchi abadis of sectors I-11/1 and I-14/4. Of these, only 47 Afghan families, consisting of 177 individuals, are living in sector I-11/1. The rest belong mostly to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2011.

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