CDA ignores security concerns

ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has ignored issues of security concerns relating to highly sensitive defence installations and is allowing residentialactivities in the vicinity of such locations, despite clear policy that private dwellers should be discouraged around sensitive areas of the capital.

Pakistan Army troops wearing the standard sand...

Pakistan Army troops wearing the standard sand fatigue uniform lead the Joint Services Parade in 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One such glaring violation is that CDA allowed residential activity in buffer zones Zone-IV and Zone-V of the city, Dawn has learnt from reliable sources.

Zones IV and V comprises the rural areas of the city, since one main Soan River also flows into the city through Zone V.

Commenting on buffer zone or restricted human areas, according to CDA wing official, are areas which have been declared sensitive in nature, where residential or commercial activities are completely banned.

According to one source in the CDA, the authority has been blatantly violating the existing rules framed for buffer zones of Zone-IV and Zone-V.

Another senior official of the authority added: “It was duly agreed by CDA management in its communication with Joint Staff Headquarters of the Pakistan Army that no new construction will be allowed within one kilometre of sensitive locations of strategic importance.”

The official maintained: “Locals living beyond 1km of sensitive installation in buffer zones may be allowed construction for residential or for farming however, it was linked with the security clearance of Joint Headquarters Security Division and the command authority managing the security of sensitive installations.”

“There is a complete ban on sale and purchase of land for the purposes of ‘any housing society’ within a restricted area but it has been ignored and the CDA openly violated the clauses on which it has given written assurances to the Joint Staff Headquarters,” insisted the official of the authority.

“A private developer was allowed to establish a housing scheme close to one such installation,” added the official.

One board member of the authority, who had served in CDA, noted that the management of the civic agency was supposed to convey to the Joint Staff Headquarters in case of any establishment close to strategic defence installations but it has been ignoring terms of references in this regard.“The CDA has been warned by the Pakistan Army that no new No Objection Certificate (NOC) should be issued for establishment of any housing society within an area of 10km of such sensitive installations and the establishment of housing societies close to such sensitive installations should be discouraged,” observed the official.

“It is not clear whether the Joint Headquarters has given approval to any private residential scheme close to sensitive installations, since Joint Headquarters of Pakistan Army’s approval is mandatory for such schemes,” the official maintained.

When the chairman of the CDA Farkhand Iqbal was approached for comment over the establishment of residential units and a scheme close to sensitive defence installations in Zone-IV and Zone-V, he insisted: “You have wrong information, since no such developments were ever allowed close to sensitive installations.”

Meanwhile, Dawn also approached the director general office of the Inter-Services Public Relations of Pakistan Army.

The senior Army official at ISPR had assured respond on the matter but till filing of this story no comments were given by the Army.