PM Khan’s Application to Regularize His Banigala Residence Runs Into Snag

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CDA seeks engineer-certified structural design & drawings of the residence, sewage disposal plan details, etc. It also seeks to verify if the residence is zoned away and above the high watermark level of the Rawal Dam.

ISLAMABAD (Nov 23, 2018) — The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has stopped the process to regularize Prime Minister Imran Khan’s hilltop private house in Banigala suburb after raising over a dozen objections.

The civic agency informed the prime minister that until he provided requisite documents, his case for regularization of his sprawling residence–considered one of the prime properties in the capital–cannot move ahead.

A CDA letter dated Nov 20, according to Dawn, stated there were several missing links in the prime minister’s application seeking the regularization of his house.

One of the major deficiencies noted in the letter was the prime minister having submitted unsigned sketches of the building which “were not acceptable for the purpose of regularization”, the CDA said. The civic agency asked the applicant to furnish structural design and drawings along with a structural soundness and stability certificate issued by a CDA-enlisted engineer.

PM Khan’s Banigala Hilltop Residence

The civic agency also asked the applicant to provide a plan for the disposal of sewage and solid waste management.

PM Khan’s over 300-kanal (38 acre) house is located in the real estate of Mohra Noor, and according to CDA record falls in the sub-zone ‘B’ of Zone IV which is assumed to be away from the highest watermark of Rawal Dam in the capital.

The dam which has a 9 sq km surface area, has a 16.5km square catchment area equivalent to 275 sq km.

In August, after the heavy rains in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the water touched the level of 1752 feet at the Dam and the spillways of the dam had to be opened–no massive overflow which normally causes flooding was observed.

But some officials are skeptical about the PM Khan’s estate location, according to Dawn. The officials have doubts over the highest watermark of Rawal Dam which determines the jurisdiction of Zone III. They explained that within a two km area of the highest watermark of the dam the area was called Zone III where buildings cannot be regularized.

Rawal Dam

“For a clearer picture, a proper demarcation of the boundary of Zone III with the start of the highest level of watermark of the dam should be carried out,” they added.

However, an officer of the CDA dealing with the regularization of buildings claimed: “There is no doubt about the jurisdiction of the building. Imran Khan’s Banigala house is located in Zone IV and the Survey of Pakistan has confirmed it.” The officer said real estate Mohra Noor spread in both Zone III and IV.

The CDA has also raised several objections related to land titleship, transfer of ownership documentation, etc.–mostly related to land records legalities.

Dawn adds:

The CDA recently started regularizing buildings in areas where its bylaws allow it to do so following Supreme Court’s orders regarding unauthorized buildings in Banigala. Last year, the apex court had taken a suo motu notice over an application filed by Mr Khan regarding unauthorized construction in Banigala. But during the proceeding of the case, it transpired that Mr Khan’s own building was not authorized by the CDA.

According to the existing regulations, after adopting a due process and paying a fine, buildings can be regularized in Zone IV. But the rules do not permit regularization of buildings in Zone III.

Apparently to remove the bar on regularization of buildings, particularly in the zone where thousands of buildings have been constructed, the federal government recently decided to revise the capital city’s master plan to make it relevant with the current needs.

According to the Greek firm that prepared the master plan in 1960, successive governments were supposed to revise the master plan after every 20 years. But so far, no revision has been made to the master plan.

Meanwhile, so far the CDA has received 180 applications for regulating buildings in Zone IV. Most of the buildings are located in Banigala.

The original article appeared in Dawn

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