ISLAMABAD – The Capital Development Authority (CDA) was supposed to initiate a mega operation on January 5 (Saturday) spanning over 10 consecutive days with an aim to evict some 864 families, consisting of 7,995 individuals, from Afghan Basti, Sector I-11.

But it did not happen on Saturday. As not only the illegal occupants of Afghan Basti but also their sympathisers belonging to several political parties are ready to defy any such move on behalf of the authority.

On Friday (January 4), the issue also caught the attention of the Senators, while a meeting to review and finalise the arrangements of this mega operation was also held at Islamabad, which was attended by representatives of CDA, ICT administration, SEFRON, UNHCR, Islamabad police and others.

Resolve of the officials of ICT Administration can be witnessed from the fact that Chief Commissioner of Islamabad did not converge to the aforementioned meeting that later concluded without evolving any substantial decision.

However, city managers are considering some options that include relocation of 114 registered Afghan families (1,022 individuals) and 27 non-registered Afghan families (254 individuals) to Kot Chandan Camp.

The Authority is also considering to shift displaced families of Bajur Agency and Mohmand Agency currently residing in Afghan Basti to somewhere near Rawat. Currently, there some 324 families (3199 individuals) of Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies origin were occupying land in Afghan Basti.

While the rest of the occupants, who are from Punjab and areas of KPK and Gilgit Baltistan would be dealt with iron hand.

The matter of fact is that as the civic body geared up its pre-operation measures not only the occupants showed resistant but leaders of several political parties also approached city mangers in a bid to force them to not undertake any such thing.

PTI’s Dr Israr Shah and PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel Khan are among those who had recently visited the CDA Headquarters asking the city managers to review the decision of operation.

Meanwhile, the other day Senator Muhammad Adrees Safi also raised this issue on the floor of the House. “In tribal areas drones are killing our people, while here in federal capital CDA is going to evict the already troubled people,” Safi observed. He asked Chairman Senate to refer the issue to Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat. On that Senator Kalsoom Perveen informed that already a meeting had been scheduled where representatives of Afghan Basti along Senator Safi would meet Chairman CDA.

Minister of Interior Rehman Malik on the occasion informed that several investigations into recent incident of suicide bombings showed that handlers and facilitators of suicide bombers were residing in Katchi Abadis.

However, the house was assured by the Leader of the House Jehangir Badr that CDA would be directed not to undertake any such operation until development of broad-based consensus over the issue.

A grand operation titled “Aman, Salamti aur Behtari” was expected to be launched on January 5, 2013. The operation is divided in three phases. During the first phase of the operation the Authority in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has completed survey of Afghan Basti to ascertain the number of encroachers here. During the survey it is also established that slum is fast turning into a safe haven for all kinds of illegal activities.

While the second phase notices were served to all the illegal settlers to voluntarily evict the area.

As per survey, out of 864 families, some 47 families (415 individuals) are of Punjab origin, 114 registered Afghan families comprising 1022 individuals, 27 non-registered Afghan families (254 individuals), 324 families (3199 individuals) are of Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies origin, while 3105 individuals making up 352 families are from the different cities of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The interesting fact that also came to surface is more than 350 individuals over the age of 18 have national identity cards mentioning Rawalpindi as their permanent residence address.

As per survey, 121 families (1018 individuals) of Mardan, 92 families (877 individuals) of Peshawar, 42 families (382 individuals) of Charsadda, 40 families (355 individuals) of Sawabi, 23 families (188 individuals) of Dir (Lower/Upper), 10 families (71 individuals) of Nowshehra are residing in Katchi Abadi I-11/1 under the guise of IDP’s of troubled areas of KPK.

Other families are from Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Mansehra, Swat, Malakan, Kohistan, Baden, Chitral, Buneer, Batgram, Loralai and Kohat.