Senior CDA officials suffer injuries as encroachers resist

islamabad – Capital Development Authority Member (Estate) Khushal Khan had to visit a physiotherapist after he was injured in an attack by a mob resisting anti-encroachment operation in village Sinyari during the current month.

In addition, Director Enforcement Ishret Taj Warsi is already on the crutches for having supervised an anti-encroachment operation to retrieve state land from Centaurus Mall. A number of other CDA officials also suffered injuries during different anti-encroachment operations with no compensation and assurance for health coverage in future. The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police, supposed to protect the CDA officials during such activities, have always been found the first to escape in case the encroachers resisted.

This is just a reflection of what officials of the CDA enforcement directorate have been facing in the field since years besides criticism from general public that the directorate is doing nothing to remove illegal constructions. 

In both the cases where the CDA member and director got injured, the respective police stations registered FIRs against the accused, though many such incidents go unregistered. In the instant case, Member (Estate) was attacked; his cell phone was damaged besides damage to the state machinery on December 18. The director enforcement was attacked by staffers of Centaurus Mall during the anti-encroachment operation and he is still unable to walk on his legs despite lapse of over a month.

Morale of the officers and staffers at the enforcement directorate is high despite all these odds and they are regularly conducting anti-encroachment operations but they are still insecure, unprotected and unsafe.

According to the officials at the directorate, who spoke to

The Nation on condition of anonymity, the police failed to protect them during the operations. A contingent of police is on deputation in the CDA to protect and provide security cover to the CDA officials during anti-encroachment operations. However, it rarely happened this way. So much so, in some cases, even the CDA officials were implicated in criminal cases by the police as they retaliated to the resistance offered by the encroachers. In such a case, three directors of the enforcement directorate were booked by Shahzad Town police for allegedly having demolished house of a resident, Hanif, without mandate.

According to the FIR, Iqbal, Badar and Hamaduddin of the enforcement directorate and some 100-120 armed persons without notice and warning demolished Hanif‘s house in Jhangi Syedan area.

A senior officer at the directorate, requesting anonymity, said that morale of the enforcement teams got down when they were booked for ‘criminal act’. Ironically, in cases where the CDA officials succeed in getting FIRs registered against ‘attackers’, the cases were later withdrawn under political pressure and due to disinterest of the CDA high ups.

The situation underlines the need for the CDA to have its own police wing to avert attacks by angry mobs of encroachers. The authority did have one such plan, which still remains unrealised. In 2014, the CDA planned to have its own police station to help it in anti-encroachment drives.

The officials started drafting PC-I of the project after the then chairman and finance division of the CDA approved the idea. The full-time police station had to work under command and control of the directorate of enforcement to ensure law and order during anti-encroachment drives in the city. Similarly, cases against the encroachers and attackers were to be lodged in the CDA police station.

However, the idea could not be materialised due to disinterest of the CDA high ups.

The CDA staffers usually face resistance from the traders and encroachers in rural areas where the community gets together within no time against CDA officials as they try to remove encroachments.

According to the officials at the enforcement directorate, the police personnel deputed at the CDA are not attending their duties properly and discipline of the force is poor which, the officials said, is creating problems for the directorate. Usually, the police personnel in aid of the CDA are not armed and they think it wise to leave the scene in case of resistance than to face wrath of the encroachers.

 

 

 

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