ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday directed Board of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit a detailed report highlighting all the housing projects which have been initiated or completed without seeking approval under the CDA Ordinance, 1960.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice AtharMinallah issued these directions while hearing of a petition against the demolition of a farmhouse of a citizen.

The bench stated in the order that Ahmed IqbalMaken Advocate appeared on behalf of Pakistan Naval Farms Directorate, Naval Headquarters but he was not able to satisfy this court that the Pakistan Navy had the mandate under the Constitution or any other law to initiate, manage or operate housing schemes of commercial nature and that too in violation of the law, in this case the Capital Development Ordinance, 1960 and the regulations made thereunder.

It added that respondent no. 2 i.e. Director PNS Farms Naval Headquarters has also appeared and he is directed to submit an affidavit explaining under what authority of law the Pakistan Naval Farms is executing a housing scheme in violation of the applicable law.

The bench continued that Dr. Shahid Mehmood, Member (Planning) Capital Development Authority also appeared but could not give a plausible justification for demolishing illegal constructions while failing to take effective action against those which are being executed or managed, directly or indirectly, by institutions or departments of the State.

“This petition is only a tip of the iceberg because this court has been burdened with litigation relating to illegal housing schemes, directly or indirectly, executed by officials of institutions and departments of the State. Most of these projects have been initiated in violation of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960 and the regulations made thereunder. Moreover, it is obvious that this illegal business continues unabated in the fourteen hundred square miles area of the Capital Territory of Islamabad while the regulator and the Federal Government are conveniently overlooking, ignoring or facilitating this flagrant undermining of rule of law,” said the order. Justice Athar noted, “It is alarming that the Capital Development Authority and the administration of the Islamabad Capital Territory have no hesitation in demolishing homes of people who are not privileged enough to resist. The illegal societies/housing projects managed, directly or indirectly, by departments and institutions are allowed to play fraud on the general public.”

He added that this Court in the case titled “BNP Pvt. Ltd. and others vs. Capital Development Authority” [PLD 2017 Islamabad 81] has observed and held that the Board of the Capital Development Authority, its Chairman and the Members are jointly and severally liable for the illegalities committed in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

The IHC bench maintained, “This case is a classic example of conflict of interest because institutions and departments of the State or its employees instead of enforcing the law become a source of its violation. The Capital Development Authority obviously seems to be helpless. The Federal Government also appears to have been complacent in the illegalities committed by public functionaries by refusing to fulfill its obligations under the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960.”

The IHC Chief Justice continued that this abysmal state of rule of law in the Capital of Pakistan is intolerable. It amounts to violation of fundamental rights besides exposing public at large to be deprived from their hard earned savings through fraud and that too by institutions and departments of the State.

Therefore, he directed the Board of the Capital Development Authority to submit a detailed report highlighting all the projects which have been initiated or completed without seeking approval(s) under the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960.

According to the order, “The reasons should also be explained for failing to take action in accordance with law. It shall also be explained why action is taken against a few e.g. the kiosks but the more privileged are treated differently. In case satisfactory justifications are not given then the Capital Development Authority and the administration of the Islamabad Capital Territory, shall identify the persons/authorities responsible for the inaction so that they can be proceeded against.”

Later, the court deferred hearing in this matter till May 21 for further proceedings in this matter.