As was anticipated, the first move by the enforcement directorate of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to remove illegal encroachments in line with the directions issued by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, was instantly confronted by the illegal occupants who turned violent and beat up the CDA staff as they launched the anti-encroachment operation in Sector I-11.

The staff, backed by the security officials of the CDA, own staff from the security directorate as a protective cover, launched an anti-encroachment operation on Wednesday in the shanty settlement in Sector I-11 across ‘Metro Cash & Carry’ store.

They had hardly demolished two illegal mud compounds when a group of these illegal encroachers confronted and attacked the CDA staff busy in the operation. They got hold of the CDA workers, manhandled them and gave them physical thrashing.

As had been the practice in the past, the CDA staff backed off quietly in face of the violent resistance because they were clearly outnumbered and were not backed by the necessary support from the Islamabad Police.

Director (Enforcement) Mohammad Ramzan Joya on receiving the information about the incident reported the matter to the concerned officials of the Islamabad Police and rushed to the spot to deal with the situation. However, the day’s work was lost because then the officials from the Sabzi Mandi Police Station stepped in, and filed a case on the complaint of the director (enforcement) against the people who interrupted and attacked the CDA officials.

However, this was not enough to boost the morale of the staff, who were clearly reluctant to pursue the task the following day. So, the director (enforcement) himself accompanied the team the next day (Thursday) to continue the operation and managed to demolish another nine compounds in the area.

Director (Enforcement) Mohammad Ramzan Joya when contacted told ‘The News’ that the effort to demolish illegal structures on the CDA’s acquired land would continue strictly in line with the directions issued by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

He said that the development of the sector was halted for a very long time now and there was hope that the area would be cleared of all encroachments after the Afghan refugees, who were settled in the sector since last almost three decades, started going back to their homeland under the agreement signed between the two governments in collaboration with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The director pointed out that this shanty settlement, mainly dominated by the Afghan refugees in the past, had turned into a den and hide out of all kind of criminals, involved in crimes ranging from petty thefts and minor street crimes to serious and most heinous ones like prostitution, drugs, arms and murders.

“Still worst is the situation where these criminals are backed by the powerful ‘qabza mafia’ who have been in physical possession of the land in the sector which has already been allotted/sold to people by the CDA and the allottees and owners of the plots in Sector I-11 are waiting for past many years for the development to start so that they can construct their homes on their plots,” the director (enforcement) said.

He said that the directive issued by the Chief Justice has come as a big support for the CDA as now they have the highest off ice of judiciary in the country to back its actions for getting the acquired land released from the illegal occupation of this ‘qabza mafia’, the encroachers and squatters.

CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi had been saying all along that he would follow the directions issued by the Chief Justice and the CDA will implement the directions in letter and spirit and as early as possible.

He said that the Chief Justice has very clearly directed the CDA to get the land for developing the federal capital released from adverse possession and speed up the development activity, which is the basic mandate of the CDA.

However, after the two days’ operation by the staff in Sector I-11, there was a pause of two days (Saturday, Sunday) and it is yet to be seen what would be the situation on ground when the staff from the enforcement directorate would resume its anti-encroachment operation there today (Monday).

The News