IHC accepts apology from officials of CDA


Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Wednesday accepted the unconditional apology from five CDA officials facing contempt of court charges.

The same bench referred the case of prime minister’s former coordinator on Islamabad Faisal Sakhi Butt to the IHC chief justice as Butt has filed a reference against the judge before the Supreme Judicial Council.

In the aforesaid matter, five officials of the CDA — Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu, Syed Imran Shah, Hussain Raza and two others — had been facing contempt of court charges for meeting Faisal Sakhi Butt after the court had restrained them from doing so. Continue reading

Membership opens today: Citizens Club resurrected

ISLAMABAD, Sept 26: Thanks to a change of heart on the part of the Supreme Court, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has salvaged the club complex it built in the F-9 Park that the court had declared an illegal structure in 2010, Dawn was told on Wednesday.“I have received the consent of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, and have a degree in this regard, that we can open the club to the ordinary citizens,” said CDA chairman Farkhand Iqbal.

CDA would open the membership of the Citizens’ Club to common citizens of Islamabad from Thursday.

In July this year, the CDA bosses started looking for ways to bring the dead club to life, without violating the Supreme Court verdict. Putting the club complex to commercial use meant a lot to the cash-strapped CDA as the 2010 decision of the court had sunk its Rs1.28 billion investment in the club into a black hole.

Initiated by Kamran Lashari, a former CDA chairman, and designed by the renowned architect Nayyar Ali Dada, the club complex boasts a 475-seat auditorium, library, conference halls, swimming pools, restaurants, fitness centres, squash and tennis courts, aerobic area, gymnasium, billiard room, games room, banquet halls and residential rooms for the members.

Membership of the club was proposed to be divided among different classes proportionately – private citizens 62.5 per cent, government officers and parliamentarians 15 per cent, CDA officers 7.5 per cent and diplomats and corporate sector 15 per cent.

But before the fabulous club could open its gates to the elites of Islamabad, the apex court upheld a citizen’s petition that public places like parks could not be used for commercial purposes.

In its 2010 judgment the Supreme Court said: “Admittedly, according to the Master Plan of F-9 Park, no residential building for lodging/boarding of the members of the Citizens’ Club could be constructed without approval of the competent authority and without taking into consideration the requirements of the public park. Continue reading

Funds for projects released

RAWALPINDI, Sept 26: Punjab government has released the first installment of funds for two mega projects — 6th Road Flyover and Pirwadhai Mor Flyover — in the garrison city.

The 6th Road Flyover on Benazir Bhutto Road is worth Rs1.017 billion and Pirwadhai Mor Flyover project is worth Rs1.6 billion on Peshawar Road.

Pirwadhai Mor Flyover project was prepared to ease the traffic over Peshawar Road.

Earlier, the provincial government wanted to construct underpass at Chur Chowk but later, it dropped the Rs520 million project because of reluctance on National Logistic Cell’s (NLC) part.

The provincial government was planning to launch the project in August 2010 but after reservations from NLC and other cantonment authorities, it delayed the project.

The NLC objected to the underpass and suggested to the provincial government to build a flyover at Pirwadhai Mor, instead of Chur Chowk. Failure of underpasses in Lahore, was quoted as an example.

A senior official of City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) told Dawn that for the first time, the Punjab Highway department managed to get Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report from Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-EPA) for Pirwadhai Mor Flyover.

“The EIA report on 6th Road Flyover still pending with Punjab-EPA and it would likely be completed without that report,” he said and added that the basic reason for getting the EIA report of Pirwadhai Mor is that the square was one of the main inter-section between Rawalpindi and Islamabad,” he said.

When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar said that the provincial government had released Rs200 million for 6th Road Flyover and Rs200 million for Pirwadhai Mor Flyover project.

He said that the remaining amount would be provided to the construction company soon. He said that the work on Pirwadhai Mor Flyover would start before Eidul Azha. Continue reading

Thokar bus terminal ready for launch

LAHORE, Sept 26: The city district government is likely to make functional the newly-constructed modern bus terminal at Thokar Niaz Beg within the next 10 days as arrangements to run air-conditioned intercity buses from the new facility are complete.

The CDGL had launched the new terminal project worth Rs200 million six months ago to reduce burden of the intercity transport on various government and private bus stands near Babu Sabu, Yatim Khana and at Badami Bagh.

The terminal has various facilities, such as spacious air-conditioned waiting hall for passengers, separate ticketing counters and lavatories for male and female passengers, covered bus bays, departure announcement system, offices for the government officials concerned, tuck shops and rest area for buses’ crew members and owners etc.

Officials told Dawn the new facility was built after it was felt that the existing bus terminals were not only causing traffic congestions but also air and noise pollution in busy city areas.

They said the CDGL also planned to install an overhead pedestrian bridge so that the passengers could easily access the terminal.

Some local transporters said the terminal should have been built on the left side of the road, as the buses coming from other bus terminals in the city and proceeding for south couldn’t enter the facility due to non-availability of a road cut. The passengers would also prefer using the two private bus terminals on the left side of the road, they added.

“We have planned to engage the transport companies having good reputation so that people could travel in well-maintained AC buses through this terminal,” DCO Noorul Amin Mengal told Dawn.

He said initially the CDGL would allow only the buses coming from southern parts of the province to Lahore or those running from southern to northern cities via Lahore.

He said the buses plying on various routes from Karachi, Rahimyar Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur, DG-Khan and D.I Khan to Lahore will have to end their journey at Thokar Terminal, as they would not be allowed to go to bus stands near Babu Sabu, Yatim Khana and Badami Bagh.

“Similarly, the buses plying on various routes from south to north via Lahore through motorway will also be barred from entering these terminals,” Mengal added.

He said the CDGL also planned to construct another bus terminal on the left side of Lahore-Multan road, opposite the new facility so that the passengers intending to travel to south could be facilitated in boarding the buses to their destinations.
Continue reading

CDA proposes City Centre for Islamabad


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has submitted a plan to the prime minister to give the federal capital a ‘City Centre’.

CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that the ‘City Centre’ would be developed in Sector F-12 with inclusion of a portion of Sector F-13 for which a complete plan along with maps has been finalised. “The plan has already been submitted to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for his final nod,” said the CDA chief while disclosing the plan.

Farkhand Iqbal said the mega project of ‘City Centre’ would be taken up during a presentation to be given to the prime minister on October 5.

The official said the CDA expects that the development of the ‘City Centre’ would attract trillions of rupees local and foreign investment, adding that the civic body would start further progress on the plan once it is okayed by the prime minister.

Giving details of the plan, the CDA chairman said the ‘City Centre’ would be of circle shape having shopping centres, high-rise buildings, provision for cultural activities, food courts with outlets of international chains. “It is the biggest project ever taken up by the CDA and we expect an investment of Rs40 trillion,” Farkhand Iqbal said.

About problems of land acquisition and compensation to the owners of Built-up Property (BuP) on the land, which falls in Sector F-12, he said they have also chalked out a plan to address this issue. “I view of heavy investment, which we expect, the compensation to the affected people is not a big issue,” he said.

The CDA chairman, however, was not happy over the hurdles, which he has been facing in accomplishing his envisaged development plans. “We have not asked for any money from the government, but still we face problems in giving a practical shape to the development projects,” he said adding that all targets could be achieved if hurdles are not created in the way.

The CDA chairman further informed that the federal capital would have an affordable and modern bus service by the end of next month provided the project is not hit by snags. “I hope the project will get through if hurdles are not created in its way,” he said. Continue reading