CDA snatches Kashmir Highway back from illegal occupants

  • Enforcement Directorate concludes long overdue action against marquees, commercial businesses

ISLAMABAD: In a long overdue anti-encroachment operation conducted here at Islamabad’s Sector G-12, parts of Kashmir Highway were cleared on Thursday to get the Right of Way (ROW) back from the illegal occupation of marquees and commercial owners.

Around 12 rooms, four washrooms with boundary walls, one tyre puncture kiosk and an illegal shop of cement seller were dismantled with the help of a bulldozer. All the operational staff of Enforcement Directorate of Capital Development Authority (CDA) took part in the anti-encroachment operation under the supervision Deputy Director Muhammad Ramzan.

Interestingly, not a single officer of other directorates of the CDA, including Environment and Land, participated in the critical operation.

Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration marked Magistrate Ali Javed along with a contingent of the police reserve late in the afternoon. The staff of Enforcement Directorate waited for the ICT Police to arrive. As soon as they reached the spot, the operation was conducted swiftly, and with precision.

On the other side of the capital, Director Emergency and Disaster Management Zafar Iqbal took notice on Thursday against the violation of fire protection and life safety measures at several public places. He identified a blue area’s oil station and tyre shop which were demolished due to the insufficient measures.

It is pertinent to mention here that in March 2018, CDA Member Estate Khushal Khattak had sought the assistance of Islamabad Chief Commissioner Aftab Akbar Durrani and IGP Sultan Azam Taimoori to remove the illegal occupation from the acquired land of ‘Right of Way’ (ROW) of Kashmir Highway encroached along the sector G-12. However, at the eleventh hour, both ICTA and Islamabad Police refused to assign magistrate and deploy police force as well as Rangers with the CDA enforcement staff.

In a letter addressed to the chiefs of police and district administration, the member estate wrote, “CDA intends to restore acquired land of ROW of Kashmir Highway, Sector G-12, whereby various structures have been raised in defiance to CDA Ordinance-1960, and also encroached upon acquired ROW. Besides, these entrepreneurs have also illegally got direct accesses from main Kashmir Highway.”

The encroachment action was held in the proposed Sector G-12, an anomaly in an otherwise well-planned, well-developed and CDA-maintained capital city. Although the civic agency had acquired the land from the locals, it had failed to take possession for the past three decades.

The award for G-12 land was given back in 1986, but the local residents had not accepted the terms and conditions, and refused to vacate it. In the 1990s and 2000s, multiple anti-encroachment operations were undertaken by the CDA with assistance from police and district administration, which had little or no substantial results.