ISLAMABAD                    -            Major roads and avenues are named after famous personalities across the world to keep them alive in the nation’s conscious. However, being the only planned city, the roads in Islamabad are also named after personalities but in the absence of a comprehensive policy.

Most of the roads in the developed sectors of the city have already been named after famous personalities. However, the general public, especially the younger generation, is largely unaware about their role because there is no proper information available on signboards.

The city managers take such decisions by their own wish and choice while most of the road signboards placed by the CDA contain incomplete information about the personality having road on his or her name.

As for instance, a road in F-7 is named after the great Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai but its signboard reads only “Bhitai Road.” How can an outsider or even local know that who Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was and what was his role and services to Sufism?  

It is not the only example. Most of the people are unaware about why the roads were named Ispahani Road, Sachal Road, Sohani Road, Faqir Aipee Road, Hassan Affandi Road, and Ismail Zabih Road. This scribe questioned about these personalities from common people walking on these roads, however, most of them did not know enough about these personalities.

On the other side, Dr. Mujeeb Ahmed, a renowned historian attached with the History Department of International Islamic University Islamabad, said that it is unfortunate that our institutions are not paying head towards this important issue. 

He said that a little effort from CDA regarding proper in-detail road signage can become a vital source of disseminating correct information about these great people.

“CDA should place signboards having brief introduction of these people and pictures if possible,” he suggested, adding “The purpose to name any road after an eminent personality is to pay homage to his services.”

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amir Ali Ahmed said that the civic authority is already working on it and in the upcoming revamping of roads, proper signage would also be incorporated. 

“We have installed one such signboard in sector F-6 and it would be replicated in other sectors as well when funds for the carpeting of roads will be issued from the federal government,” he informed.  

Meanwhile, a senior officer of the authority has commented that the names of roads should be selected on merit instead of pick and choose basis. He alleged that currently, several roads have been named after relatively lesser known personalities due to unknown reasons.

Initially, the Directorate of Master Plan CDA was responsible for recommending the names for roads. However, now the task rests with the CDA’s Directorate of Traffic Engineering.

The directorate prepares a summary recommending the names as per the specific guideline already laid down by the federal government and forwards it to the CDA Board for approval.

After a nod from CDA Board, the name goes for the final approval of federal government. However, this is considered just a formality. As per the guidelines, no road can be named after a person while he is still alive. The roads can be named after the founders of Pakistan, persons who were in the forefront of freedom movement, national personalities with unblemished record of service to the nation, martyrs and artists of national fame.

However, if you are an influential bureaucrat, powerful politician or even a journalist, then you can recommend a name of your own choice. Such cases are decided on the basis of personal liking at the CDA.