–International expert on urban development, sustainable architecture offers services on voluntary basis
ISLAMABAD: In a new twist to the ongoing tussle between the elected government and top bureaucrats for the control over the affairs of Capital Development Authority (CDA), the federal government has decided to seek the services of international experts on urban planning and sustainable architecture for developing the new Islamabad master plan according to modern needs and techniques.
A well-informed source told Pakistan Today that a major breakthrough was made on Monday as the world’s only PhD on the Capital’s master plan, who happens to be a Pakistani national and has been serving in Brussels for over 20 years now, has agreed to help the federal government revive Islamabad’s Master Plan on a voluntary basis.
According to the source, Professor Dr Ahmed Zaib Khan, a top expert on sustainable urban development, has offered his services to the federal government on a voluntary basis for developing a new master plan for the Capital based on modern, sustainable architecture and urbanism trends.
Professor Dr Khan is serving as professor of sustainable architecture and urbanism at Université Libre de Bruxelles, and is in Pakistan for vacations these days. He has experience in developing master plans for urban development in the European Union (EU), Africa, and Latin America.
The source said that the federal government had finally decided to break the shackles of bureaucracy and entice top brains working abroad to help diversify the country into ‘Naya Pakistan’.
The source further informed that the bureaucracy was trying to resist transparency and moderation and top CDA officials recently made a covert move to keep their control over the affairs by capturing CDA’s Board of Directors (BoD).
“The CDA moved a file to the State Minister for Interior, Shehryar Khan Afridi, seeking prompt approval to a summary of the CDA BoD on the pretext that the matter was sub-judice in the Supreme Court (SC). Interestingly, the minister was shocked to learn that all the proposed BoD members were grade 20 and 21 bureaucrats. The minister was later briefed that the bureaucrats have kept their control over Islamabad’s planning by capturing CDA’s BoD and this practice has continued since the 1960s,” the source said while adding that Afridi smelled foul and foiled the move.
“In a bid to turn CDA into a public servant body and to make its affairs transparent, the ordinance needs to reviewed and Islamabad’s master plan needs to be transformed on modern trends. This can happen as long as there is the political will to make it happen,” the source added.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Dr Ahmed Zaib Khan said that he had called on Shehryar Khan Afridi to offer his services for developing the new master plan and would also like to brief Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan about his plan to diversify the Capital into a modern city, model of which could later be replicated all across the country.
“I think I have been serving the world with my abilities and it is about time that I should return my services to my country and my people now. I want to serve purely on a voluntary basis and don’t seek anything from Pakistan in return,” the expert added.