Presently, the fast growing beautiful city of Islamabad sends a wave of shock to those visiting it after two decades or so. Even in 1980s till 1995, Islamabad qualified as the most well-planned and scenic place of human dwelling among the comity of nations. In 1970s, the administrators proudly told every foreign dignitary that Islamabad’s layout plan was conceived by its foreign architect to resemble Athens, known as epicenter of knowledge, philosophy, history and science in the ancient world. Whenever the heads of states, particularly of China, USA, USSR, UK, or of Muslim world, etc. visited Pakistan, they were honored to plant a baby tree in the soil reserved on the top of Shekarparian in front of which enchanting Margalla Hills casted fantastic spell on the guests and the greenish Rawal Lake‘s cool breeze gave mesmerizing impression, from the eastern side. Sadly, a pride of antiquity and nature’s gift gradually lost in ruthless assault of human greed, foolishness and collapse of public departments. For, Islamabad remained no more an abode of natural beauty and better planning just in couple of decades after its inception, Now, Islamabad is the city of slums, dens, Kachi Abadies, uncontrolled and corrupt cooperative housing societies and tyrannical private housing schemes under complete command of stately protected outlaws, criminals and gangs whose prime aim is to make mountains of wealth and money. The engine of their sky-rocketing financial strength and power is the violation of the law reinforced for controlled, monitored and evaluated planning of the Federal Capital of Islamabad.

The ultimate beneficiaries of total lawlessness are primarily those responsible for implementation of law; then the ruling elite consisting of civil and military bureaucrats, politicians, religious outlets, traders and lusty groups of societies, seeking money and wealth by hook or crook. Though, the fifth largest democracy in the world—-Pakistan, succeeded in making invincible defense system but failed to protect the great heritage and assets our forefathers, ancestors and Mother Nature had given us within our national boundaries. Historians from Herodotus of ancient time to Toynbee of our age tell us time and again that history sees no power having ability to conquer a nation that is strong and cemented within its boundaries. Similarly, a state allowing disregard of law and rise in societal split and divide cannot win the boarders wars because its worst enemies live in abundance within its own boarders. This is unanimously admitted philosophy of history that a state warring with law and people ultimately inspires its neighbors and world power to make assault on its land sovereignty. If we evaluate the prevalent situation of disregard of law and disrespect of people generally in Pakistan and particularly in Islamabad, we have to reach the depressive conclusion. Intermittent political assault on Islamabad during the last many years and the elected government’s deep sleep and slumber, left the power center of the first nuclear state in the Muslim World on the mercy of the objective condition. Resultantly, every coming day made the bad circumstances the worst.

It is the nemesis of the great inertia and sluggishness that the elected government celebrating overwhelming majority in the general elections-2013 now considers itself the victim of injustice and lawlessness. Again, history tells us that those harbinger of injustice and lawlessness are lastly the victim of them. Had the government respected the law and rights of the people, they would have not to endure such an unpleasant situation. Though, there were multiple areas the government had to pay attention for showing good governance, yet more particular was the federal capital of Islamabad the government, parliament and judiciary must had to ensure rule of law, respect of humanity and disciplined life because it is comparatively manageable district having a status of province. To the contrary, none of the state institution thought it appropriate to check the systematic violation of law in every field specifically in the development of Islamabad. Consequently, the ground realities have reached the point to such an extent that Islamabad is in the strong hold of those violating the Master Plan and natural land scape, converting the Greco-Roman model of Islamabad into slums and dens having streets not wider than 4 foot without any system of drainage and disposal of garbage. Yet another rising trend of development appears that most of the housing projects undertaken, particularly since 2000, are monstrously eating away the amenities such as playgrounds, parks, community centers, worship places, hospitals and grave yards. Not only that, the developers of new establishments bravely grabbed the state and private land in connivance with the administrators of Islamabad. The aggrieved persons filed numerous writ petitions in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court, with the plea that the city’s developers of M/S Ghouri Town in Zone IV and V have violated the approved layout plan creating residential and commercial plots on the land reserved for public utilities. Ghouri Town is located between Faizabad Interchange and Koral Interchange with five km along Islamabad express highway in the west and three km along Murree Road in the north. Being very close to main sectors of Islamabad, Zone-IV is only three km away from CDA headquarter, six km from Prime Minister office, parliament, Supreme Court of Pakistan, President House, Cabinet Division and Ministry of Interior—-the controlling authorities for planned and regulated development in Islamabad. In the Master Plan, the Zone–IV was reserved for agro farms, orchards, nurseries and cultivation of vegetables, fruits and food grains, which is now consisting of either villas, or slums and dens. On April 25, 2017, the Judge of Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah ordered CDA to state the reason by which it remained silent over the violation of the layout plan within 10 days.

Modern city of Islamabad was demarcated on the areas of the ancient Gandhara Civilization which mainly resembled the map of Grecian capital. The streets of G, F and E sectors were made of cut-stones; instead of bitumen or coaltar so that the map and make-up of Islamabad should literally matches Athens. The high-rise buildings were rarer. Primarily, only 45% area was made available for houses and other buildings; 10% was reserved for amenities and 5% for green areas while natural topography consisting of hill torrents and water reservoirs were fully protected from encroachments. Initially, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was a statutory body to carry out the development of Islamabad. Till July 5, 1977, everything went in congruence with the book of law, as CDA having modern machineries, qualified professionals and engineers undertook development works itself. As General Zia-ul-Haq martial law’s legacy was anti-Bhutto’s regime, the nationalization of industries and the government intervention in public sector development were destined to face aggressive opposition. Thus, private sector was given free hand to decide the fate of Islamabad. Under emerging situation, CDA withdrew from execution of development work, totally surrendering it to the contractors. As a result, CDA restricted itself only to the maintenance of less than half dozen sectors, leaving huge areas in Zone II, III, IV, V and O, etc. for whom “might was right”. Besides, the rural areas were surrendered to the lords of displaced communities of Islamabad who systematically created a tyrannical state within a non-functional state.

In nutshell, Ghouri Town is not the sole violator of law of the land but all the 42 cooperative housing societies and housing companies played mischiefs with Master Plan and the approved layout plan of each project. If the trend continues to dominate anymore, the days are not far away when Islamabad shall be another addition to the hubs of mafia like Italy, New York, New Delhi and Karachi, too. Consequently, the porous Islamabad would be a befitting place for manipulated agitations and political destabilization like Tehran of Iran in Dr. Mosadeqh time, Jakarta of Indonesia in Dr. Sukarno’s days, Egypt’s Cairo in Arab Spring and Turkish Ankara of today.

 

The writer is EX-Director General (Translation), Senate of Pakistan).

Trusthem@gmail.com