ISLAMABAD: Amidst the fully developed sectors of Islamabad lies Sector G-12, known locally as Meeran Abadi. The thousands of acres of pristine land occupied by the locals has become a ‘No Go Area’ for many since the illegal encroachment, construction of commercial and private property and other criminal activities continue with wanton disregard of laws and Capital Development Authority (CDA) regulations.
The proposed Sector G-12 is an anomaly in an otherwise well-planned, well-developed and CDA maintained capital city. The civic agency had acquired the land from locals but for past three decades it has failed to take possession.
Although the award for G-12 land was given back in 1986, the local residents didn’t accept the terms and condition and refused to vacate. In the 1990’s and 2000’s multiple anti-encroachment operations were undertaken by CDA with assistance from Police and District Administration with little or no substantial results.
Also, due to the illegal occupancy by locals, sectors like G-13, G-14, F-14 and housing society near motorway are connected to mainland Islamabad with only one road, the Kashmir Highway. No service road and inter-sector roads exist.
Meanwhile, during past decade many shops, showrooms, marriage halls, marquees and other structures have been erected in and around the disputed sector. Since the land is not regulated by and under the domain of CDA, the sale and purchase of land is done through stamp papers. The absence of regulations and rules has made sector G-12 a safe choice specially for middle sized businesses like supply, hardware, car wash, cement etc.
It is pertinent to mention that sector G-12, the long disputed sector of Islamabad for the past two decades, is witnessing unbridled infrastructure development on its fringes. One can witness the development along the Kashmir Highway while entering and leaving Islamabad. Dozens of shops, marriage halls, marquees and showrooms can be spotted along the borders of G-12.
Presently, the construction work on marriage halls, multi-storey plazas, shops, and houses is in full swing as the land mafia is taking advantage of the past history of sector G-12 and the reluctance of CDA and ICTA (Islamabad Capital Territory Administration) to undertake action in the sector. On papers, CDA had acquired the sector back in 1985, however, the locals refused to give possession as they found the compensation to be insufficient. The sale and purchase of land in the sector has been barred since then. At present, many businessmen and property dealers are selling and purchasing the land in the sector. The sales and purchases are being done without a lawful transfer of title, allocation of a plot on the map and registry.
Since the early 90’s the administration and CDA with help from police have tried to vacate the land from its natives, but all such attempts met serious resistance from the residents of the locality. The land of other sectors of G belt, G-14 and G-15 have been acquired, demarcated, sold and presently inhabited by thousands of families.
While Talking to Pakistan Today, Ali Ahmed, a resident of G-13 said that the CDA had acquired land of almost every sector from locals who have been living here for generations.
‘I remember when we moved to G-11 back in the mid 90’s, there was a full-fledged village here, but then in the early 2000’s they gave compensation to the dwellers and acquired the land from them. If this practice can happen elsewhere then why not G-12? It is about time the high-ups find an amicable solution to the problem and curb the illegal constructions in the sector,’ he said.
Sources at Land Directorate of CDA told Pakistan Today that despite various operations in the past, the district administration and CDA has not yet succeeded in acquiring the lands from the locals and thus has failed to develop the sector.
Due to the rampant urbanisation along the Kashmir Highway during last few years, the mushrooming of restaurants and marquees in the area initiated a new trend of connecting the building structures with main Kashmir Highway. This practice has also resulted in severe accidents in addition to creating traffic woes.
Interestingly, the CDA sought help from Police and ICTA to undertake an operation against marquees and showrooms who were violating ROW (Right of Way) by making entrance to their establishments directly from the road. At eleventh hour, ICTA and police refused to provide man power for the operation.
CDA had to postpone the operation, at the time of writing no new date has been issued by the authority.
CDA Deputy Director Public Relations Malik Saleem said that the issue of G-12 has multiple dimensions. ‘They (the locals) have taken their case to the court and bagged stay orders. In that situation the hands of the CDA are tied. Hopefully, we’ll hammer out an understanding with the locals and take possession of the land,’ he told Pakistan Today.