Court asks CDA to compensate villagers

ISLAMABAD, July 17: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed Member Finance Capital Development Authority (CDA) Javed Jehangir to provide compensation to 600 villagers of sectors H-16 and I-17 by July 25.

The court, while hearing identical petitions concerning affected villagers, observed that the CDA had paid about Rs3 billion to Bahria Town and other influential people for their land in both sectors soon after they were announced in 2009.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui warned the CDA officials that their salaries would be attached and the authority’s bank accounts seized if they failed to compensate the affected persons.

Raja Inam Amin Minhas, one of the counsel for the affected villagers, told the court that the authority in 2009 announced award of 16,000 kanals in villages Kot Kholian, Noon and Badhana for sectors H-16 and I-17 and after giving compensation to
influential people, the authority stopped compensating others.
He said the affected villagers filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi in 2010 and the court decided the matter in their favour.

In March 2011, the affected persons moved contempt of court petitions against CDA officials in IHC for not implementing court orders but on every hearing CDA counsel came up with different excuses, he added. He pointed out that during the past one year CDA counsel in order to dodge the court, twice submitted five options to compensate the villagers which the affected villagers had already rejected.

He said the total compensation for sectors H-16 and I-17 was Rs12 billion but the CDA in its four consecutive budgets — exceeding Rs20 billion for each year — did not allocate even a single penny for compensation.

CDA Director Land Capt (retired) Fariduddin Mustafa appeared in the court and when the court asked him to explain the authority’s position, he said the CDA was willing to compensate the affected land owners under land sharing formula but the villagers had rejected the offer. He said matters related to monetary compensation did not fall under his jurisdiction.

The court then summoned CDA Member Finance Javed Jehangir who told the court that due to financial constraints the authority was not in a position to compensate affected villagers. He, however, assured the court that he will place the matter in the next CDA board meeting.