Islamabad: CDA, ICT admin told to expedite work

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ISLAMABAD:A parliamentary panel recently directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to speed up work on public interest projects.

The panel of the Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat directed CDA Member Planning Tahir Shamshad and DG Planning Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu to ensure that housing societies operating in Gulberg Farm Houses and Ghauri Town follow their respective zoning laws and ensure implementation of its previous recommendations. Continue reading

DHA plot balloting ceremony held

A Mosque in Defence Housing Authority, Karachi

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LAHORE – The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has become a strong brand name with a sound infrastructure and technical team. Everyone associated with the DHA specially the valued members and community partners have contributed a lot to the success and we will continue our pace in a sustainable manner.

These views were expressed by DHA Administrator Brig (r) Muhammad Aslam Rana while addressing the plot balloting ceremony held on the premises of DHA Auditorium here on Thursday. Continue reading

Islamabad: CDA introduces eco-friendly housing society

ISLAMABAD: The Park Enclave is the only environmental friendly model-housing scheme in the heart of the federal capital, the Green City where 60 per cent of the area is meant for natural landscaping and allied facilities, said CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi on Wednesday.

Talking to media men at site of the dream-housing scheme, CDA chairman said a large number of the potential applicants are visiting the site of the Park Enclave with families and submitting their applications to participate in the balloting process for getting the plots. Continue reading

Islamabad: Construction banned in sector G-14

ISLAMABAD: The Park Enclave is the only environmental friendly model-housing scheme in the heart of the federal capital, the Green City where 60 per cent of the area is meant for natural landscaping and allied facilities, said CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi on Wednesday.

Talking to media men at site of the dream-housing scheme, CDA chairman said a large number of the potential applicants are visiting the site of the Park Enclave with families and submitting their applications to participate in the balloting process for getting the plots. Continue reading

Wealthy Pakistanis Leaving Taliban Areas

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PESHAWAR, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) – Wealthy Pakistanis from the country’s northwestern region are leaving their hometowns permanently to settle in safer areas far from the war zone. Doctors and other professionals are joining the exodus.

The departure of doctors and other medical personnel could put the fragile health care system in danger but many have found the situation too risky for them and their families.

Dr Zararullah Mahsud had a thriving medical practice in the tribal area of South Waziristan but left his ancestral village for Peshawar in December 2009.

“My decision to leave my hometown permanently is based on the bitter experience of living there,” said Mahsud, who runs a clinic near Board Bazaar in Peshawar. “The past five years were like hell. My children stayed at home instead of going to school and there was no chance for them to play.”

Mahsud’s brothers and cousins have also moved their families to safer cities to avoid violence. “It is very hard to leave your birthplace permanently but sometimes you have to safeguard yourself and the younger generation.”

It is not just the residents of South Waziristan and other districts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) who are leaving, but also wealthier families from Peshawar and other cities in the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“My family is living in Islamabad now. I am staying here to run my private hospital,” Dr Muhibur Rehman, who was kidnapped by the Taliban last year, told IPS. He remained in Taliban captivity for a month and reportedly paid a ransom of 25,000 dollars for his freedom.

Another senior surgeon, who asked to be unnamed, said he moved to Lahore to live with his sons after he received threats from Taliban.

“The Taliban warned me to send them 5,000 dollars every month, which was beyond by financial position,” the surgeon told IPS. “So, the only option to avoid the Taliban’s wrath was to leave my native city forever…. I have sold all my property and would never come back as I know that the Taliban have now become a permanent feature of life in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Pakistan was peaceful before the Taliban was ousted from power in Afghanistan in late 2001 and took sanctuary in the FATA near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Taliban then spread out from the tribal areas, launching attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of the country.

At the receiving end of those attacks are the six million people living in FATA, which consists of seven tribal agencies now dubbed as the international headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In six of the seven tribal agencies, the army has been engaged in operations against militants since 2005, making life extremely difficult.

Residents seeking peace have incurred the ire of militants, as in the case of 55-year-old Abdullah Khan whose family hails from Orakzai Agency. He said they had formed a peace committee, angering the local chapter of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who warned them to dismantle the committee.

“We didn’t heed the Taliban’s warning. One night they attacked us and killed my two younger brothers,” said Khan, whose family has moved to the capital Islamabad. He added they were forced to sell their property in Orakzai, valued at one million dollars, for only a fifth of what it was worth so that they could buy a small house in Islamabad.

“The real estate dealers have been earning exorbitant amounts buying houses for people displaced from the FATA by military operations,” said Abid Shah, vice-president of the Real Estate Dealers Association in Peshawar.

Muhammad Omar, an established businessman from Bajaur Agency, still regrets selling his agricultural land for much lower than the market price due to the worsening militancy back home. “I have done a great blunder to sell my shops and property because one day we have to return there. But I sold the property on the insistence of my family,” he told IPS.

“Now there is no option of going back there because I have sold everything,” he said.

Some one million people who have fled the violence in northwest Pakistan now live in camps or with relatives or in rented houses. “The wealthier ones opt to migrate to other places to be safe,” said Mukhtar Khan, a college teacher in Mohmand Agency, who purchased a house in Peshawar last year.

“We have been temporarily migrating from Mohmand to Peshawar and then back to Mohmand from the past five years, which has adversely affected the education of my children,” he said. Still, he said his family visit relatives on special occasions but cannot afford to stay there permanently.

The section of the FATA located along the 2,400-km porous Pakistan-Afghan border is the least developed part of the country. Those who opt to stay live under the shadow of militants who often inflict harsh punishment that includes public executions and chopping off hands.

“The people have lost confidence in the military as well as the government and they don’t see any prospects of peace there. Only poor families are staying there,” said Hashimullah Afridi, a cloth merchant from Khyber Agency where the military operation has been going on for the past two years.

Source: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56658

Inside the impregnable Rabia City

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Karachi

From outside it looks like a garrisoned fort dotted with towering building blocks that stretches for over a kilometre. The building blocks, which appear to have been modelled on a Lego project made by an easily distracted child, has more than 2,200 residential flats. Most of them occupied by families settled for more than a decade. Rabia City in Gulistan-i-Jauhar is rumoured to be one of the largest residential projects in Asia but is certainly the biggest in the country.  Continue reading

Lahore: Timely completion of uplift projects being ensured: CM

Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif has said that all resources are being utilized for rapid development of the province and welfare of the masses while timely and transparent completion of development projects is also being ensured.

He said this, on Sunday, while presiding over a high-level meeting regarding implementation of different projects under special packages, for the fiscal year 2010-11, and priorities and time frame for development schemes for the next fiscal year, 2011-12.
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CDA-Bahria Town nexus: A tale of two enclaves

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ISLAMABAD:

Instead of giving proper attention to the Park Enclave project which was launched amid much hype, the planning director of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is busy “ensuring success” for the Bahria Enclave, it has been learnt. The latter is a housing project owned by an influential realtor.

The owner of the housing scheme could not have succeeded in getting a ‘no-objection certificate’ (NOC) from the CDA, but the civic agency did approve the land use plan (LUP) for Bahria Enclave. However, the entire process has managed to upset the legal directorate of the civic agency, which is not satisfied with the means adopted by Bahria Town and the Planning Directorate. “The Planning Directorate of the civic body, that is supposed to work to make authority’s projects successful through effective planning, entertained Bahria Town in violation of its own rules,” a top CDA official told The Express Tribune. “We are not blaming our officials, but Planning Directorate officials are enjoying cordial relations with Bahria Town,” he said. Continue reading

Intra-city migration: Landlords in ‘safer’ neighbourhoods double demand for rent and deposits

Nagan Interchange at North Nazimabad, Karachi

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KARACHI: Families who live next to areas dominated by opposing ethnic communities have started to move to other parts of the city. The movement, in this particular case, is happening at a large scale from Qasba Colony, Aligarh Colony, Mominabad and Baldia Town.

Atif Soharwardi, a resident of Orangi Town, said that he works for a private company in alternate shifts, mostly from noon till midnight. “In order to keep my job I am living with my relatives in Liaquatabad and North Nazimabad, because Banaras Chowk, Metroville and Katti Pahari cannot be crossed safely,” he said. Continue reading