Islamabad - Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Islamabad chapter on Friday staged a protest demonstration against the ban imposed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on new utility connections in rural areas of the city.

Dozens of PTI workers led by local MNA Asad Umer assembled in front of Fire Brigade Headquarter here and marched up to the mayor office in Sector G-7.

They chanted slogans against the Mayor Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz over what they viewed his failure to address the problems of the residents of the capital city.

Rather, they believed, the mayor added to the woes of the residents by extending a ban on such connections and failed to provide other basic amenities as water and sanitation. It is to mention here that the mayor is also chairman of CDA. MCI members from PTI also joined the protest.

They were of the view that the mayor has proved his inability to address the problems faced by the residents and give relief to the people of the capital.

It is to mention here that the federal cabinet in its meeting held on May 19, 2004, had directed WAPDA, SNGPL, and PTCL not to provide connections in these zones unless an NOC has been obtained by the applicant from the CDA.

The cabinet viewed that construction in contravention of the zoning laws should not be allowed in Zone-2, 3, and 4 of Islamabad on government or private land.

In May 2015, CDA wrote to the utility services providing agencies including Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) to immediately stop entertaining applications for new connections in such areas.

The move was aimed at checking the mushroom growth of illegal housing societies in the limits of the federal capital.

The directorate of housing societies of the CDA had written separate letters to the utility services providing agencies, asking them not to entertain applications for new connections as was recommended by the federal cabinet in the wake of mushroom growth of illegal housing societies some years back.

In December 2016, the government considered giving one-time relaxation of zoning bye-laws so as to provide utility connections to these building units. The move was aimed at provision of the utility connections i.e. gas, electricity, water, and telephone to all the existing building units in these illegal settlements, which the federal cabinet had barred in 2004 as illegal.

The proposed one-time relaxation was part of the recommendations formulated by the CDA to settle the long-standing issue of utility connections to the illegal old settlements/Abadis but the CDA is yet to take a decision on the issue yet.

The participants of the rally were of the view that the CDA has no role in the development of rural areas of the capital city rather the authority has become a mafia.

They demanded that power be devolved to the grass root level. They also demanded that ban on new connections in the localities be lifted immediately. The leaders criticized the mayor for his ‘negative role’ as far as development of the city is concerned.

Addressing the participants of the protest rally, MNA Asad Umer said that the State Minister for CADD, Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, also a member parliament from Islamabad, is himself a hurdle in the development of the city.

He said that the CADD minister opposed the proposed amendment in CDA rules which were meant for the welfare of the residents.

He said the Supreme Court had ordered against illegal construction in Bani Gala area only which, he said, was extended to the whole of Islamabad. He said, similarly, N-League opposed quota in jobs for Islamabad domicile holders.

Ali Awan, Opposition Leader in MCI said that the persons whose lands were acquired by the CDA are now running from pillar to post for obtaining NOC from the CDA. He said that instead of ensuring availability of water and other basic amenities, the CDA high-ups have banned connections of Sui-gas and electricity.

“If CDA has no role in the development of the rural areas, it should not take a decision regarding the provision of such connections ,” he added. President PTI Islamabad Raja Khurram said that new methods were being invented to plunder the citizens of Islamabad and added that the Minister for CADD has also adopted an anti-Islamabad policy.