Stories about CDA

Agro farm issues: Pakistan’s very own political FarmVille

Around the world, banks, leasing agencies and recovery firms are despised for the swiftness with which they come to collect on unpaid loans or breaches of contract. People complain about how their unique circumstances were not considered by the agencies when they appeal for leniency. Yet, at the end of the day, this is what keeps those companies ticking over. Plus, ‘borrowing’ something with no intention of giving it back is a form of fraud. Fortunately, so is providing loans to people who cannot pay them off. Unfortunately, while poor borrowers get punished, predatory lenders usually get off scot free. In December, ...

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Raja Pervez Ashraf and the musical chairmen

The last day in office for the Raja Pervez Ashraf government brought an ‘unexpected’ amount of excitement for anyone who follows the bureaucracy. Over two dozen posts — mostly senior level — changed hands, with a few of the changes raising a hue and cry and eventually attracting the attention of the Supreme Court. One of those was a transfer order for Tahir Shahbaz, who was only appointed CDA chairman late last year. Shahbaz was ostensibly brought in to clean up the agency after years of inept management and outright corruption had reduced the formerly cash-rich agency into a poverty-stricken ...

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Rawalpindi’s fading history and phantom streetlights

How do you navigate a city based on a description from 65 years past? How do you guide yourself with landmarks that don’t exist anymore? And what do you do when the idyllic description of the city is confronted with the stark, present-day reality? That is what happened to someone I met this week. My grandfather bought what would become our family home in Rawalpindi from a close friend, a Sikh, who had chosen to migrate to India after partition. A lifetime later, that friend’s granddaughter made her first trip to Pakistan, for a pilgrimage to the Gurdwara Panja Sahib in ...

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Prevention is better than cure

Not for the first time, a court order has gotten the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in a tough fix. After the Islamabad High Court ordered the formation of a three-member panel of retired judges to investigate allegations of corruption in the CDA, more than a few serving and former CDA officials would have broken out in cold sweats. The CDA is not by any means a model organisation. Civic problems go unaddressed for weeks, lower staff goes unpaid for months, projects are delayed by years, and corruption has been rampant since its inception. The new chairman hasn’t been in office ...

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Endangering lives in the name of frugality

While navigating a puddle created by a neighbour washing his car, my mind was drawn to the capital’s civic agency’s plans to save water. Coming just days after a confounding power conservation plan, the water plan, while a bit more realistic, still leaves out a key element which has already been discussed at national level — water metering. The plan includes effective monitoring of leaks in the city’s water supply lines, imposition of fines on water wastage and raising awareness among residents on how to save water. While saving water is definitely an issue, seeing that half of the city’s ...

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Exploiting the power crisis: Rioters in protesters’ clothing

A strange thing happened on the way to Raja Rental’s ascension to the premiership; Islamabad’s daily loadshedding was increased. On the face of it, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with that, considering the nationwide power crisis, but a little birdie told me that in the absence of a WAPDA minister and prime minister, the hike should have been delayed until a cabinet was set in place. And although that may or may not be a legal requirement, a notification of the increase is. With the mercury hovering around 45 degrees Celsius, loadshedding is a major issue, but unfortunately not the only one. Water in Khanpur Dam, the ...

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They paved paradise, and put up a cricket stadium and golf course

There was some good news for the city’s sports fans following the announcements that new “world-class” cricket and golf facilities are going to be set up in Shakarparian. Hundreds of thousands of cricket fans would be especially enthused by the knowledge that the capital will finally be home to a cricket stadium as would a dozen-odd golf fans. But I kid. Golf has more than a dozen fans in the city. Maybe even a few hundred. While a cricket stadium has been a long-standing dream for many Islamabadis, a bit of an odd one considering the relative proximity of Rawalpindi Cricket ...

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Hail Farkhand Iqbal, the King of Islamabad

Expect a court battle soon over whose daddy owns this city. Earlier this week, CDA chief Farkhand Iqbal’s son, no doubt proud of his dad’s great list of accomplishments including stealing and unsealing the Bhoja Air black box and making ludicrous comments about other agencies to deflect blame for his own failures, decided to establish his father’s stranglehold on the city for all to see. After a mother and son made the mistake of driving their car into the path of his daddy’s car on his daddy’s road near Kohsar Market, causing an accident that was in no way the younger ...

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Capital encroachment: Laws, promises and a delicious piece of pie

“Silence is a source of great strength” – Lao Tzu As an optimist will confirm, waking up is supposed to be the best part of the day. It doesn’t matter what time you wake up, or what sleep cycle your body follows, waking up full of energy is part of the charm of facing a new day and the new challenges that come with it. So why this weak feeling? Maybe it’s the school up your street. Maybe it’s the office next door. Maybe it’s the VVVVVIP next door (they love their V’s don’t they?), or maybe even ...

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Whose country is this anyways?

Over the past few months the case of commercial activities in F-9 or Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabad has seen the the CDA, the owners of Megazone and the Nazriya Pakistan Council embroiled in a case of illegal possession in the Supreme Court. One of the projects under review was the construction of the Islamabad Citizens Club by the CDA. Sadly, this was hardly the first instance ofencroachment by the land mafia or the state on what is a designated public space. I find it very hard to get my head around why in a country such as Pakistan, where millions ...

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