The Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board on Tuesday approved widely publicising its intentions to take over the land the CDA had acquired back in 1960s for developing the federal capital in line with the directions issued by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

According to the CDA spokesman, in Tuesday’s meeting of the board it was decided to give a seven-day notice to the illegal occupants of the CDA’s acquired land through widely published advertisement in the print media, asking them to give up the illegal occupation and hand over possession of the land to the authority.

The chunks of such already acquired by the CDA back in 1960s is scattered all over the area declared as Islamabad Capital Territory. Some of these areas were acquired and all sorts of compensations according to the laid down policy and terms and conditions were already paid, but the CDA let the acquired portions of land be in the possession of the then occupants for agricultural purposes. But there are some parts of the acquired land for which the compensation was paid for the land but the settlement for the ‘built up property’ was left to be settled at a later date.

Whether the reasons for not settling the issue completely at that time may be but now it has become a very serious issue to deal with because the CDA never monitored and prevented any addition to the built-up property on the acquired land. As a result the claims of built-up property on these chunks of land, acquired back in 1960s, have multiplied manifolds as compared to what originally were there.

Sources in the CDA told ‘The News’ on the condition of anonymity that the biggest chunks of such acquired land were in Malpur where 3,532 acres of land and in Kuri where 1,489 acres of land were still under adverse possession.

The sources told ‘The News’ in addition to the ones located in Malpur and Kuri, other sizeable tracts of acquired land in Zone-IV include 874 acres of land in village Rehara, 450 acres in village Sehana, and 400 acres each in Lakhwal and Pandori villages respectively. “Only this forms almost 7,545 acres of acquired land scattered in Zone-IV while there are many more smaller land holdings acquired by the CDA in Zone-IV too,” the sources said.

However, the sources said that those are the pockets of acquired land still under adverse possession in Zone-I, which forms the ‘sectoral area’ of the federal capital, to be developed by the CDA.

“The inability of the CDA to get these portions of already acquired land in Zone-I from adverse and illegal possession is seriously hindering the pace of development of the federal capital. The illegal occupants, be those the actual inhabitants from whom the CDA had acquired the land back in 1960s and let them keep the possession till the time these parts are needed for development or the ‘qabza groups’, which have somehow managed to grab the land already acquired by the CDA, have become too powerful and had been easily twisting the arms of the CDA to bring the authority to accept their terms under which the authority has paid the compensations, both in cash and land/plots, to these illegal occupants twice or even thrice for the same land and built up property!” the sources said.

The sources said that the big tracts of land in Zone-I, still under adverse possession include 991 acres in village Bhokra, 450 acres in Mera Sumbal Aku, 268 acres in village Chahan, 200 acres in village Dhreek Mori, 200 acres in village Badia Samt Khan and 150 acres in village Mera Sumbal Jaffar.

“This around 2,259 acres of acquired land still under adverse possession has prevented the CDA to carry out any development in sectors E-12, I-12, I-11 and F-12. And there are many more smaller chunks of acquired land which are still under adverse possession or in the possession of ‘qabza groups’, who, in majority of cases, have grabbed the land in the name of mosques, graveyards, madrassas, shrines of unknown saints or Imambargahs,” the sources said.

The sources in the CDA said that there is a lot of euphoria in the authority as they are confident that in light of the directions passed by the Chief Justice, the authority would find the law fully on their back, something which has always prevented them from carrying out any meaningful attempt or action to take over the possession of the acquired land from the illegal occupants, ‘qabza groups’ and the squatters.

“In the past these illegal occupants, on getting information about any such impending operation by the CDA would immediately rush to the lower courts and get a ‘stay order’ against the CDA’s operation. And then a never-ending litigation in the lower court would start. But this time CDA bosses believe that the lower courts would not be granting such ‘stay orders’ so easily in light of the directions passed by Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry himself to the CDA to recover the acquired land from adverse possession,” the sources said.

The News