ISLAMABAD-The Capital Development Authority and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad while doing operation against the encroachments over pathways and verandas of commercial centres have ignored the similar encroachments done by the mega malls, Centaurus Mall and Safa Gold Mall.

Nowadays, the city managers are doing operation against encroachments across the city and not only razing illegal structures from the roads, footpaths, parking areas, state lands and green belts but also carrying out operation against those properties which are using their verandas and pathways for commercial purposes. The said operation is being jointly conducted by the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) and Building Control Section (BCS) of the CDA. The city managers removed several structures constructed by the owners to close the entry of common people into said verandas and pathways.

Sources said that the verandas and pathways of commercial centres were considered as public spaces and owner of a commercial centre could not use the same exclusively. In result, the city managers are conducting operations against pathways and verandas of markets to free them from encroachers and to facilitate the pedestrian movement of general public visiting these markets. During such operations in last few months, the encroachments from public pathways, corridors and verandas of various plazas were removed in Blue Area, Aabpara Market and other ‘marakiz’ of the city in which illegal shutters, stairs and portioning walls constructed in verandas of the plazas were dismantled to make verandas opened for the public. However, the city manager were blamed for doing operation on pick and choose bases because they did not clear all such violations in the city while they are being criticised for ignoring similar encroachments of the biggest malls of the city.

“The Centaurs Mall Islamabad and Safa Gold Mall are also using their circulation areas (pathways) for commercial purposes and rented it out to several brands”, a shopkeeper of F-6 said, questioning: “Why the city managers are not doing operation inside these malls and removing these encroachments.”

He stated further that according to their building plan, they cannot use these pathways for commercial purposes but one can easily find Jewellery, perfume and nut shops and ATM machines in all of corridors of the Centaurus Mall and Safa Gold Mall.

On the other side, when contacted, officers inside the Building Control Section also endorsed the fact that the management of these mega malls had rented these premises illegally and they are liable to be removed.

They however said that operation could not be launched against these bigwigs because they had strong connections in bureaucracy as well as in political circles.

When contacted, Director DMA Shafi Marwat accepted that the commercial use of pathways by these commercial centres was a violation of civic bylaws and said that the authority was about to issue them notices to vacate the premises.

“First, we will give them notices and ask to free the public areas inside their malls”, he added, assuring: “If they will fail to comply with the directions, an operation would defiantly be launched against them as well.”