Residents say that the presence of private and public offices in the residential areas has disturbed the peace and quiet that once was the hallmark of the town.
“Long rows of cars are parked on both sides of the streets leaving residents and others having to squeeze through in their vehicles with difficulty,” said Saeed Bajwa, a F-7 resident.
“Presence of such offices has confined us to our homes as if we were living in some high-rise apartments,” he said.
Samina Bashir, another local, pointed out that the biggest problem for them was the constant presence of peons and guards in such offices. “We feel insecure for there have been reports in the past of such people breaking into houses.”
Similarly, Khurrum Pervez of F-8/2 said that the heavy presence of police guarding the Zardari House and offices of UN agencies and embassies are also troublesome for them. “The policemen performing their duties round the clock keep talking and laughing, especially at night that disturb us,” he said.
Unfortunately, CDA has never been able to deal with this problem and has clearly let things slip out of hand. “If we take action against private offices in residential areas, they get stay orders on the ground that government offices are also operating from the same areas,” said a CDA official.
He said that CDA keeps issuing notices from time to time but no comprehensive strategy could be chalked out. This is because most of the time influential people back the violators whose number is said to be more than 500.
CDA Public Relations Director Asim Khichi said that recently the department had issued notices to 76 private offices operating in residential areas through newspapers. “We have given them 15 days to vacate the houses otherwise action would be taken against them according to rules for they are violating CDA Ordinance 1960 and Islamabad Residential Sector Zoning Regulation 2005,” he said.
Khichi said that most of these offices were located in Sectors F-6 and F-7. He agreed that many public offices were also operating from residential areas. “These notices are only issued to private parties,” he said.
He said that the CDA had specific criteria for approving design of a house and objection was raised if there was any indication that the house could be used for commercial purposes in future. “No plaza looking design is approved by the relevant department,” he said adding that sometimes people make changes in the design during construction.[The News]