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CDA given one month to stop commercial activities in residences
06-09-2014, 11:15 PM
Post: #1
CDA given one month to stop commercial activities in residences
CDA given one month to stop commercial activities in residences

ISLAMABAD: Enabling the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to initiate action against non-conforming use of residential buildings, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday lifted all 70 restraining orders the violators had obtained since 2001.

On the basis of the stay orders, the owners and others continued commercial activities in residences.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed the CDA to stop non-conforming use of residential buildings in a month and seal the properties of those who would continue the violations after the deadline.

The CDA had expressed its helplessness in taking action against those who were using their private houses for commercial activities.

Because of the monetary benefit the trend of non-conforming use of residential buildings has been on the rise. According to a report the CDA submitted to the IHC in February this year, 2,073 residential buildings in the city were being used for commercial activities.

The report was submitted to the court in reply to a petition filed by a resident of Islamabad against non-conforming use of his house by a tenant. The civic agency said despite knowing the violators of the Islamabad Residential Sector Regulations 2005, it was helpless in taking action against them because of the litigations.

CDA legal adviser Hifzur Rehman argued before Justice Siddiqui on Friday that when the authority issued notices to the owners of the properties, they obtained stay orders from the high courts.

He said under the CDA by-laws, the building owners could file an appeal against the deputy commissioner CDA in such matters but they bypassed the forum and directly approached the high courts.

When contacted, former CDA legal adviser Barrister Masroor Shah said the owners and those running their businesses in the residential buildings had invested a huge amount on the buildings in connivance with the CDA officials.

The civic agency has specific directorates to keep checks on the buildings and stop commercial activities in the residential premises, he said, adding the staff concerned deliberately overlooked the violations.

Because of the internal and external pressure, he added, it may not be easy for the CDA bosses to implement the court directions. But if they have the ‘will’ to stop the commercial activities, it is also feasible.

Mohammad Asim Khichi, the CDA spokesman, said the authority would implement the court order in letter and spirit.

He said the non-conforming use of buildings would be brought to an end within the deadline of 30 days.

“We are going to issue a ‘warning’ to non-conforming users to stop commercial activities in their premises to avoid legal action,” the spokesman said.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2014
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