ISLAMABAD  -    A long strip of state land retrieved from encroachers on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan has been left unattended while it can easily be converted into a ‘linear park’ like many other parts of the world.

Use of the said retrieved land in an effective manner is necessary as the area has become the western gateway to the capital city and its significance has been increased further after inauguration of the New Islamabad International Airport.   

The right of way of Kashmir Highway in front of sector G-12 was cleared by city manager after a gigantic anti-encroachment operation, in which dozens of marriage halls, marquees and plazas were razed down as the same were constructed on the state land.

However, the debris of demolished buildings are still laying there despite passage of several months. 

The CDA has started removing the debris by using its own machinery but at a very slow pace. CDA had earlier warned that it would auction the debris if the owners did not remove the same.      

However, the citizen demanded of the city managers to come up with a well-devised solution for future to prudently utilise this land which cannot be limited to linear park only but it should be considered as an option.

A linear park is a park in an urban or suburban setting that is substantially longer than its width and it can be built by making long strips of public land next to canals, streams and highways green.

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed agreed to the demand and said that the first task was to remove the debris for which we have publicly asked the owners to remove the same but now we are going to auction them.

“Once debris are removed, we will involve stakeholders to plant trees on the sides of Kashmir Highway”, he said, explaining: “Establishing a full-fledged park is time-taking process which also involves financial constraints but we will consider it seriously”.  

The illegal construction on the said piece of land was underway from Golara Morr to the traffic signal of sector G-11 from last many years, whereas a large number of commercial activities were also being facilitated by some of the CDA officials by allowing these illegal structures a direct access from the main Highway.

In papers, Capital Development Authority has acquired the land for sector G-12 back in 1985, however, the locals refused to give possession as they found the compensation money insufficient. Since then, there is a bar on sale and purchase of land in the sector.

However, ROW of Kashmir Highway was fully acquired and compensation against it was paid to the owners but after rehabilitation and up-gradation of Kashmir Highway, the construction of marriage halls, multi-storey plazas, shops and houses were in full swing alongside the Highway as the land mafia was sure that the city manager will never show a spine to restrict them.

The incumbent government conducted an across-the-board operation in the area soon after its formation but now it needs the intervention of the Prime Minister to convert it into a useable public amenity.