ISLAMABAD, Oct 11: To build a house in an upscale area of Islamabad is a dream for many, but to be able to get through the process is ridden with difficulties as Aniq Zafar is discovering.
An owner of a plot in the upscale residential scheme of Margalla Retreat in sector E-11’s Northern Strip, Mr Zafar and 58 other plot owners paid Rs8 million one year back to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) are uncertain about the status of development in the society.
“In September 2011, plots measuring 500 sq yds were offered to potential buyers through advertisements, and the estimated price was Rs18 million: the first instalment was of Rs4 million while the rest of the payment was to be made in three instalments,” said an official of the CDA.
“However, an amount of over Rs471 million made by plot owners is stuck with the CDA because of litigation,” he added.
This is because in October last year, a stay order was issued on a petition filed by the members of Multi Professional Cooperative Housing Society (MPCHS), who are of the view that till CDA settles their Rs2.036 billion claim for developing 54-acres of land in the Northern Strip, the civic body was not legally authorised to do other business ventures on the said land.
It is pertinent to mention that earlier on April 15, 2011 Supreme Court had declared the joint venture agreement between the CDA and the MPCHS for development of the 54-acre land as illegal but had allowed the housing society to pursue remedy in accordance with the law.
A senior official of the authority added that the MPCHS was yet to get the payments since CDA was facing severe financial crunch for the last two years.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has vacated the stay order, because the lawyer of the petitioners was not turning up at IHC for hearings in the last few months.
On the other hand, a Planning Department official told Dawn that Margalla Retreat would be a fully developed housing society in Northern Strip of E-11 with basic amenities such as gas, water, electricity and others.
The official said that CDA had to give a go-ahead to its residents for construction of their respective houses since there is no more litigation on Margalla Retreat.When Dawn approached the spokesman for CDA Ramzan Sajid, he quoted the chairman Tahir Shahbaz as saying: “The balloting of Margalla Retreat will be held on Friday (Oct 12).”
He claimed that Mr Shahbaz had patiently heard the concerns of the plot owners of Margalla Retreat and had given immediate directions on the matter.
After the balloting, the spokesman added, possession letters for the plots would be issued in some time.