Commercial setups sprout in residential areas


The capital city was once considered a model city where nobody could dare to take the law into their own hands, but now every illegal activity goes unchecked here. One such illegal activity is the commercial use of residential areas against which the Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems helpless despite repeated crackdowns.
Commercial use of private houses has been going on for many years, but the CDA has turned a blind eye to the situation. The problem has now reached such epidemic proportions that commercial activity can be witnessed at every nook and corner of the capital’s residential areas. Sources in the CDA told Pakistan Today that the civic authority had begun a crackdown on those who violate residential bylaws, but it was unlikely to meet success due to inaction of the officials concerned. They said that many of the offices in various sectors were run by influential people on whom CDA finds it almost impossible to lay hands. “Though the CDA has been doing whatever it can to curb commercial activity in residential areas, it could take a long time before things fall into place,” sources added. People have set up restaurants, guest houses, offices and showrooms in several residential sectors to evade commercial taxes while commercial activity in these sectors continues to create problems for the residents.
According to conservative estimates, more than 200 new commercial ventures have been started in houses in the city, including a number of restaurants, boutiques, beauty salons, showrooms and private TV channels’ offices. Besides, a large number of government offices have been set up in residential areas, causing nuisance to the neighbours. The local residents have made a litany of complaints to the CDA but to no avail.
According to official figures, over 1,000 residential units in Islamabad are being used for commercial purposes. Of these, 450 are being used as private and government offices, 200 as schools, 150 as guest houses, 80 as restaurants/rest houses and over 120 as offices of foreign missions, beauty parlours, restaurants and showrooms. Incidents of theft show up frequently in these areas. Zahid Akhtar, a resident of Sector G6/2, told Pakistan Today that these offices were swarmed with visitors all day and was no mechanism in place to keep a check on thieves and other criminals. “The fear of theft is always there in these residential areas. The CDA must ensure that all these commercial setups are dismantled once and for all,” he said.
Local residents described guest houses as the hub of illicit activities. However, some residents told Pakistan Today that they had established their businesses after approval of the authority and now the CDA had no right to take action against them.
A CDA spokesman said the number of the commercial setups including offices, restaurants and guest houses was about 850, adding, notices had been issued to all of them. “We have served notice across the board and sent all cases to the deputy commissioner to pursue them according to the law,” the spokesman added. He said that many of the violators got stay orders from courts, which is why the civic body was helpless against them. “We have approached courts to have their stay orders revoked,” he said. Ramzan said that fines amounting to Rs 50,000 have also been imposed on many of the violators.


  1. all such activities are being performed by sourcefull persons who have influence in govt and media so no one even CDA dare to take action against them all problems can be solved if their is rule of law in counbtry and still its a dream.

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