The major irritants and problems faced by residents of various cantonment boards are problems created by vested interest lobbies and nexus of real estate and land mafia tycoons and autocratic monopolistic attitude of bureaucracy that holds executive assignments. There seems to be no remedy in sight even with coming elections to Cantonment Boards, because those given charge to give party tickets and manage election campaign by three major political parties (PPP, PML(N) , PTI) are controversial men, notorious for their involvement in land scams. The best example is those spearheading campaign by PTI and PML(N) in Lahore.

Residents of Karachi cantonment board and DHA continue to face scarcity of clean water scarcity flowing through taps, although for decades they have been forced to pay huge amounts as Water Charges to Cantonment Board and rise in crime. The other problem is disappearance of amenity plots, with connivance of land mafia and bureaucracy which have been converted into commercial or residential plots.

In Lahore and Islamabad similar problems are being faced by residents of cantonments, who are left at mercy of powerful land mafia and corrupt officials, who are immune to basic civic problems faced by residents. The green belts, which for ages were a source of providing fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and meat to residents are being replaced by concrete jungles with devastating effect on environment. While residential population is rising with criminal conversion of agricultural land belts developed over decades to feed residents into real estate plots for profitable commercial benefits of few, this country’s net agriculture and farm produce is diminishing by the day. It is not just private housing societies involved in fleecing citizens, but also controversial DHA Valley in Islamabad among others.

RASHID ORAKZAI,

Islamabad, April 20.