Islamabad - Rural areas of the capital are running out of burial space due to expanded urbanisation and mushroom growth of unauthorised housing societies not dedicating land for the purpose. Residents of the rural areas have demanded of the authorities concerned to ensure provision of land for graveyards to the new localities emerging out of the civic bodies’ control in zone four and five.

Vice Chairman UC 22 Ilyas Kiyani said that due to higher cost of land and improper planning by the housing societies, the issue of space for burial was aggravating and the settlers had to move bodies to their native towns. He said that the union council had one graveyard where the space was swiftly shrinking and the locals were not allowing the settlers to bury their deceased there.

The issue was brought in the notice of Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry for allocation of land for another graveyard. The minister assured to look in to the matter on priority, he said.

Vice chairman of UC 18, Raja Amjed, said that there was no official graveyard in NA-48 and NA-49 constituencies and people had to move their deceased to their native localities despite their over-the-years settlement in these areas. An official of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad said that chairman CDA had directed to provide temporary burial facility to the residents of UC 44 to 48 in H-11/3 graveyard. An official of the regional planning department of the Capital Development Authority said that their department had no authority to alter the ICT zoning regulations and that grant of permission was an attempt to benefit private housing societies having allocated no land for public amenities including graveyards, parks, schools or mosques. He added that according to the modalities and procedures under ICT (Zoning) Regulation 1992 for development of private housing schemes, it is mandatory for housing societies to reserve at least two per cent of their land for graveyards.

“Recently, the MCI moved a case for a graveyard of Indian community which had been approved by our department”, he added. Meanwhile, the Christian community has also demanded allocating land in the rural areas exclusively for the community, he said.

The National Assembly recently adopted a resolution for allocation of separate land for graveyards in rural areas of Islamabad.