SC wonders why city fathers are not interested in resolving capital’s issues

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Islamabad on the verge of civic & administrative collapse

Zubair Qureshi

Supreme Court on Friday noted with surprise the city fathers were least bothered about resolving federal capital’s basic civic and administrative issues and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged misconduct of the Authority’s officials.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed who is set to take oath as Chief Justice of Pakistan on December 21 while hearing a plea relating to encroachments by Centaurus Mall – a skyscraper in the heart of Islamabad— admonished the CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed for leaving the federal capital to the mercy of encroachers.
Justice Gulzar regretted that the construction of high-rise buildings had been approved on directions of the politicians. He directed the CDA chief to recover money from officials accused of causing financial losses to the body.
According to the audit report 2015-16, the shopping mall has encroached on over 40 kanals of CDA-owned land worth Rs10 billion and is being run without obtaining a completion certificate, i.e. permission to occupy, from the Capital Development Authority’s Building Control Section.
During the hearing, Justice Ahmed remarked on one hand the federal capital is becoming a jungle of sky rise buildings and on the other hand, there is no public transport in the capital since 1960.
“There is one shaking Metro running in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and there is no rickshaw in sight,” he observed. “Bring in rickshaws, show people your culture.”
The judge also expressed annoyance at overseas Pakistanis’ “refusal to work in the country”.
Overseas Pakistanis are running the transport system in London. Our best town planners have gone to America and Canada. They say that they cannot work in a jungle. Their refusal to work in Pakistan is a slap on their and the country’s face, said the irritated judge.
The judge also pointed out deteriorating situation of the capital’s roads saying, “One fears of running into a footpath while driving on the Kashmir Highway.”
Justice Gulzar Ahmed told National Highway Authority Chairman to present a report on the action taken in accordance with the court’s orders.
He also directed the interior secretary to submit a report on solutions to administrative problems. The hearing was then adjourned for six weeks.
Justice Ahmed will assume charge as the country’s top judge on December 21, a day after the retirement of the incumbent CJP Asif Saeed Khosa.
He is hearing a number of cases pertaining to illegal encroachments in Karachi and Islamabad.