Stories about CDA

Life in Pathar Colony: When will our government start providing housing facilities to the poor?

In my visit to Pathar Colony (situated in the recesses of H-12 Islamabad), I witnessed how challenging life was for its inhabitants living under feeble mud houses. A rainy season meant that they had to re-build their homes. With approximately 150 households thriving on no electricity provision, stingy water supply and utter poverty – the nomads dwelling the place have accustomed themselves to such an ascetic lifestyle. It is beyond the control of these people living in the slums that are deprived of such basic necessities, such as electricity and clean running water. Most survive on one meal a day, while working as hard manual labourers. The dominion of the powerful ...

Read Full Post

CDA is vigilant about encroachment in slum areas, but won’t shut down big businesses?

Violence against journalists must always be condemned, but what about the collateral damage caused to common citizens by a media houses’ flouting of the law? The ARY news office is illegally operating in a residential area, violating Capital Development Authority (CDA) land use rules. Besides the defiance of the law of the land, the nature of operation of this particular business exposes residents to an unnecessary threat. When the terror threat level is high, state security will tell people to avoid commercial areas and stay home. Media houses usually relay such statements verbatim, but might avoid offering this disclaimer, “Media houses are a prime terrorist ...

Read Full Post

The end of Afghan Basti: It was all they had

Last week, Islamabad High Court judge, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered the removal of illegal settlements in I-11 area of Islamabad. The judgment summarised that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had allotted plots in the I-11 Sector, and therefore the settlements established there were violating the rights of the land owners and resultantly had to be removed. Strangely enough, however, the voters list of 1985 had the names of the inhabitants of the Afghan Basti (settlement) as eligible voters while the plots were allotted a year later in 1986. How could Afghans be registered voters? Well, it seems that the name is a misnomer because the population ...

Read Full Post

Who will help the Christian slum dwellers in Islamabad now?

Three-year-old beady eyed Nazia frolics mischievously around the room, trying to coax a response from me. Her mother scolds her, ordering her to go play with her younger brother outside. I, for one, am glad that Nazia is a child as she is oblivious to the constant fear that looms over her family – a fear of being left homeless by the end of this year. Nazia and her family are one of the 80,000 unfortunate slum inhabitants, living in Maskeen Colony Islamabad, one of the thirty odd slums that have been notified by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for evacuation on the pretext of being ...

Read Full Post

Bulldozing the poor of Islamabad to make room for the rich?

I offer my deepest sympathies to the elite and upper-middle class families of Islamabad who may be experiencing frustrating irregularities in the activities of their servants. It’s quite possible that the inconvenience is being caused by their maasi (domestic maid) Zareena’s sudden homelessness in the aftermath of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) war on slums. I’ll try not to undermine the importance of preventing illegal occupation of public land but this prevention shouldn’t be reserved for just one segment of society. It’s expected for these settlements to be raked away especially, if the occupiers are haplessly poor and have no teeth to bite back. But what ...

Read Full Post

4 reasons Islamabad does not need the metro bus service

The PML-N government recently launched the metro bus service in Islamabad amidst much pomp with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurating the project himself. The project will connect Islamabad and Rawalpindi by widening the existing roads to accommodate a separate lane for the metro bus to run on without any traffic interrupting it.  However, the bus service has not been met kindly by the residents of Islamabad for a host of reasons, the most prominent among them being the fact that it violates the master plan of Islamabad and will cause destruction to the trees the city is known for. I think Islamabad doesn’t need the metro ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to the Chairman of the Capital Development Authority, Islamabad

Dear Sir, 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 ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan, where security and justice are only illusions

Public security measures taken in Islamabad are often regarded as anathema. A few years back, the police checkpoints and barricades around the city made our once-serene little town look more like a sister city for Baghdad than Ankara. Of course, recent rains temporarily made the capital resemble another one of its sister cities — Venice — but that’s a separate story. The checkpoints around town have fallen in number over the last couple of years, and especially since the new government came in, but the large barricades outside some offices, schools and embassies remain, despite the fact that most of these ...

Read Full Post

Water supply: Trickling into anarchy

Water — the most basic element necessary to sustain life and the most powerful source for internal strife. Water shortages are becoming a norm in Pakistan, with the contributing factors a mix of controllable and uncontrollable ones, such as inefficient water management and climate change respectively. While the former results in reduced water supply due to inefficient and insufficient water distribution networks, the latter causes erratic weather patterns and reduced input from glacial melt, because the rising temperature of the world is causing glaciers to disappear. At local and national levels, the approach to addressing water-related problems has been mostly reactive instead ...

Read Full Post

Please sir, encroach some more

There was once an old man. He had an estranged relationship with his children, who rarely made the effort to care for him. Maybe it was because he wasn’t rich, and they had already got everything they wanted from him. One day, a robber broke into the poor old man’s house and stole his life’s savings. The old man approached the police for help, but they couldn’t track down the robber. Years later, as the man was dying at home, unable to pay for his medical expenses, the police finally caught the robber. The old man now had a choice — ...

Read Full Post