CDA seeks Rangers to retrieve encroached land

ISLAMABAD, April 4: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has finally approached the Punjab Rangers to help it retrieve its land still in adverse possession in different sectors or encroached upon by the land mafia.

Proposed flag of Islamabad Capital Territory, ...

Proposed flag of Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan (ref: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In January 2011, the Supreme Court had directed the civic agency to retrieve the around 20,000 acres from encroachers in different parts of the city. In June that year, the city managers launched a campaign and got around 12,000 acres vacated.

Besides the encroached land, there are a number of sectors like E-12, G-12, D-12, F-12, F-13 and F-14 which could not be developed because its land is under adverse possession.

The authority could not recover the land from the claimants who have been demanding residential plots in the new sectors in return for their property.

According to Shaishta Sohail, the CDA member estate, the authority had sent a request to the Islamabad capital territory administration for hiring the services of the Rangers.

“The application seeking the services of the Punjab Rangers to clear the encroached land and land in non-developed residential sectors is pending with the ICT administration and we are waiting for their reply,” she added.

The official said for hiring the Rangers the approval of the Ministry of Interior was mandatory.

She said once the services of the Rangers were acquired, her department would be able to manage a speedy recover of the land.

It may be noted that the land is under the adverse possession mainly because of the poor enforcement and lack of will on part of the civic agency. Besides, the claimants have intermittently filed cases in alleged connivance with the CDA staff and the CDA
board has been least interested in addressing the issue.

An official of the civic agency said over the years the CDA had failed to manage the claims of people who were holding land in different underdeveloped residential sectors like E-12 and G-12.

“CDA’s enforcement wing is poor in managing its routine business, and land-related issues are still coming up which puts a question mark on the working of the enforcement staff,” added the official.

When approached, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Tariq Pirzada said: “We have held meetings with the senior CDA management to discuss the issue and are willing to hire the services of the Rangers for the civic agency to retrieve the state land.”

Asked why the ICT administration was giving a cold shoulder to the CDA request for acquiring the services of the paramilitary force, Mr Pirzada said: “We are not going into a blame game and all I can say is that the ICT administration is all open to give
magisterial cover to the authority along with the police force whenever demanded by the CDA.” For hiring the services of the Rangers, he added, the approval from the Ministry of Interior was mandatory. “We have sent a request to the ministry and are waiting for its clearance.”