ISLAMABAD: The revision of Islamabad’s master plan is encountering significant delays, prompting city officials to seek the support of the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior for the approval of a cabinet summary.
According to sources, the delay in the master plan revision has been a long-standing issue, and the absence of an active commission has hindered progress.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has made repeated efforts to engage a professional consultant for the revision of the master plan.
However, without an active commission, these efforts have remained in a state of limbo.
In December 2022, the CDA forwarded a request to the Ministry of Interior, seeking the reconstitution of a commission originally formed by the PTI government.
This commission had become inactive following the ouster of the PTI government, and the CDA sought to revive it. Unfortunately, the cabinet did not take up the matter for approval at that time.
A board member of the CDA stated, “A few days ago, we discussed this issue with the new Interior Secretary, Aftab Akbar Durrani, and he assured us of his assistance in obtaining cabinet approval for the summary. This week, we plan to formally address this matter with the Ministry of Interior.”
The board member expressed optimism that the cabinet would soon approve the summary for the reconstitution of the commission.
Insiders have indicated that without the formation of an active commission, progressing with the master plan revision is nearly impossible.
The PTI government was the third in Pakistan’s history to attempt the revision of Islamabad’s master plan.
However, practical work on the revision was not initiated during its tenure. In December 2022, the CDA submitted a summary to the Ministry of Interior, aiming to secure new appointments for the commission responsible for the city’s blueprint revision.
Unfortunately, approval for new commission members was not granted, despite the submission of a list containing at least 20 names.
Over the years, Islamabad’s master plan has changed without input from professional consultants, contrary to the recommendations of the plan’s creators.
The makers of Islamabad’s master plan had suggested revisions every 20 years to align with evolving needs.
However, successive governments introduced selective changes, resulting in planning challenges.
Besides, major issues such as the proliferation of housing societies, informal settlements, unauthorized construction on private land, and unapproved government housing remain unresolved.
In the past, attempts were made in 1993 and 2007 to revise the master plan, but the work was halted after initial studies. In 2018, former Prime Minister Imran Khan established a commission with a one-year timeline to complete the task, but it failed to deliver.
The commission submitted an interim report in 2020, mainly related to building by-laws and the regularization of specific areas, leaving the revision itself pending, as a professional firm for the task has not been hired to date.
CDA member planning, Waseem Hayat Bajwa, affirmed that the CDA had submitted a summary in December 2022 to reconstitute the commission.
Once the cabinet approves the commission members’ names and issues a notification, the commission will commence its work.