Who owns the commercial plots in Sector G-13 of Islamabad? This question cumulated in a media campaign launched by the parties claiming better title ie Capital Development Authority (CDA), Federal Government Employees’ Housing Authority (FGEHF) and Ministry of Defence. The parties involved chose to fight their case by advertising in various newspapers rather than resolving the faux pas in a high-level meeting of their officials.
The Ministry of Defence warned in an advertisement that the land the FGEHF has put up for auction belongs to it and the housing authority has no right whatsoever to auction it off. The ministry warned public at large and bidders that it would not compensate or adjust any claim rising out of such a transaction or purchase.
In the aftermath of Defence Ministry’s claim, the FGEHF on Wednesday suspended the auction of commercial plots. The suspension came as the result of a petition moved by the Military Estate Office in which the ministry submitted that the commercial plots in sector G-13 were its property.
In a recent development, the interior minister put a ban on acquisition of land in the capital to make new societies. The minister said that no one, be it a private person or government servant, would be allowed to grab land in the capital. “We will support the move to buy land if it is bought from the owner at market rates,” added the minister.
Commercial property in Islamabad is the most expensive in Pakistan, as price of a single plot in main markets and Blue Area runs in billions of rupees. The CDA earned Rs 4.6 billion from sale of 22 commercial plots in the past month alone. There are still many vacant commercial plots in main markets of Islamabad that will get the Authority billions more.
Also, it appears as if the CDA has given up its mandate of improving and maintaining the infrastructure of numerous sectors of Islamabad, Sector G-13 being one of them.
This sector has been neglected since its inception almost a decade ago. Although the successive regimes in the capital promised the provision of footpaths, roads, water supply, street lighting and parks on preferential basis, no such promise has been materialised as the roads are in shambles, streetlights lack maintenance and residents suffer from acute shortage of water on a daily basis.
“We moved here back in 2009, but little has changed since. Among other things the lack of transportation facilities disturbs many on a daily basis,” said Syed Shahrukh Zaidi, a resident of Sector G-13, adding, “Development works stalled long ago. Now the sector is in the grip of encroachers who have encroached upon vacant plots and set up their dhabbas (eateries) and erected concrete structures.”
“All this was done with the connivance of authorities responsible,” Zaidi said, requesting the high-ups to take necessary steps and initiate projects related to carpeting of roads, maintenance of streetlights and establishment of parks.