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CDA may not amend building bylaws
04-12-2012, 01:14 PM
Post: #1
CDA may not amend building bylaws
CDA may not amend building bylaws

ISLAMABAD – It seems that city managers have truly learnt from past experiences where once they following the ‘reservations’ of a Pakistani spy agency had sealed one of the US facilities — a warehouse in Sector I-9 — however this time the Capital Development Authority is reluctant to accept what a CDA official termed “the unjust demand of spy agency” regarding revision of Authority’s newly enforced building by-laws for Diplomatic Enclave.

A top official wishing not to be named said that recently a spy agency has raised objections over the height of under-construction US Embassy Complex and has suggested CDA to revise its building byelaws for the area.

“The spy agency in a letter written to CDA Chairman has recommended that the authority should revise its building byelaws for diplomatic area but for buildings other than the government ones,” the official added.

In the same letter the spy agency has also sought clarification from the city managers how could they give permission to the US Embassy to construct ground plus seven-storey complex in Diplomatic Enclave.

As per information, the US authorities have completed almost 15 per cent of the construction work of new complex that as per approved building plans would be raised up to seven storeys.

The CDA has revised in building byelaws for Islamabad in year 2007, where the Authority by revising ground plus four storeys permission have fixed ground plus seven storeys height limit in Diplomatic Enclave. And the site plan of new complex of the US Embassy was approved under the revised byelaws.

In January 2012, a committee comprising CDA officials and representatives from the Planning Commission, Emergency and Disaster Management, Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners have approved the blueprints of the proposed building and consequently CDA has issued no objection certificate to the US authorities regarding new complex.

“It was after the approval of blueprints when CDA had approached the spy agency - that is now objecting the whole plan - and provided them all the necessary material including complex site plan, blueprints, maps etc. But they did not object it at that time. Now when they (Americans) have started construction as per approved plan they (spy agency) are asking us to revise our approved plan,” he added.

“It is like next to impossible for us to bar US Embassy to raise its new complex that they are doing as per law and in accordance with the building byelaws for the area,” he said.

Recounting the memories - when CDA had sealed a US Embassy warehouse in I-9 Industrial Area in year 2011 after a spy agency has alleged that “illegal activitis” were under way there - he questioned about the outcome of that adventure.

“CDA had not only unsealed the facility - that was sealed on baseless objections - but also restored the trade status of the building. At the end it was humiliating for CDA.”

“At this point - when complex construction is in full swing - if we ask the US authorities that they could not go beyond ground plus four storeys, they (Americans) could take us to International Court of Law. The CDA will not be at receiving hand, once again, while those who are objecting would withdraw their support like they did in warehouse case,” the official apprehended.

He said the authority as last resort has referred the objections of spy agency and CDA’s stance regarding the US facility to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He also informed that it’s not only the US Embassy complex that would have ground plus seven storeys but many other countries have constructed or have approved plans from CDA to raise their building up to ground plus six/seven storeys.

All the concerned CDA officials shared the details but wishing not to be named, while Chairman CDA was conveyed through text on his cell for comments over the issue but he did not receive the call.
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