An open letter to the Chairman of the Capital Development Authority, Islamabad
I would like to share with you my feeling of owning a home in Islamabad and how it developed as a matter of inheritor.
My father died in an accident at the age of 80, that too on one of Islamabad’s roads. Taking a trip down memory lane, I can still recall the day he received the allotment papers of a plot under the ‘Federal Government Employees Housing Scheme’ (FGEHS). The flashbacks of his expressions and excitement-filled voice portrayed security, peace of mind and hope of building a home of our own, that too with the halal income that he worked hard for after investing countless hours in the government office.
Sir, I was a fifth grader then, a child who saw her father drawing and planning the map of a house with sheer excitement; the mere sight was so fascinating, that I even decided to take part in the planning and decided to paint my room pink.
Yes, I remember!
How naive children are?
I am sure you would agree that, logically, the paint of that room would have faded by now and would have needed to be re-painted multiple times over a period of 30 years. But, amazingly enough, that never happened.
Now let me enlighten you with the reason, Sir. With 30 years to its allotment, sector E-12 stands deserted and not a single stone is uprooted for the development of this piece of land. While we have seen faster development in the parallel sectors of E-11 and D-12 comparatively, I could not understand as why the concerned department of Capital Development Authority (CDA) had so much empathy and mercy with the allottees of the sectors other than E-12?
I tried to look for all the logical reasons; maybe it’s possessed by a resident jinn (ghost) or unholy spirit or maybe the sacrifices of some allottees is required for purifying this piece of land, which otherwise remains beyond the discretion of CDA to take a sensible amount of time in paving the development of this sector.
Sir, if we consider the people who were allotted under the FGEHS, with 60 to 65 years as an average life expectancy in Pakistan, I can say that 70% of the original allottees are dead by now, 30% of the people have managed to earn peanuts for their plots and have given up in the hands of the real estate agents, who are another cause of nuisance. Having experienced it myself, the threatening and haunting calls from these brokers were the cherry on top.
“Sell or you will be charged with unbearable amount of penalty by authorities”
“You need to sell to us, since this is better for you!”
Luckily, we weren’t enchanted by the fake charms and claims of these brokers, and didn’t sell our plot, mostly because of what it meant to my father and how he wanted to build his dream home on this piece of land.
Sir, I also tried to search for the shortcomings. There is a possibility that it has something to do with the allottees of E-12 sector, since unlike the allottees of sectors D-12 and E-11, our sector did not have secretaries and their nephews who were given preference and better service. It took me a while to understand the differences in their social status. Poor souls!
I wish some secretaries were also allotted plots in our sector so we could have also witnessed fast development in our sector. Better yet, I wish Malik Riaz would take this land from CDA, so I could write him a letter of gratitude instead.
As I am writing this letter, my mother is approaching her 80’s and is currently struggling with diabetes and partial blindness .The déjà vu of not being able to build this dream home haunts me every night as I feel her dream of having her own home might die with her. In that case, I have a better plan. Let’s convert sector E-12 into a sanctuary, dedicated to the allotted and their families. At least we can secure them death beds as I’m sure we’re also running out of space for sanctuaries in Islamabad. I really do understand the level of complexity city planners have to face now.
Sir, building a home on the E-12 plot has now become my life’s mission, which I intend to complete while my mother is still with me. I do, however, leave the decision to you and hope for a miracle.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.