ISLAMABAD  -    Under the pressure of clerics and religious groups involved in occupying mosques’ plot in the federal capital, the high ups of Capital Development Authority are reluctant to roll out a transparent policy to allot such plots to the local inhabitants instead of strangers.

According to reliable sources, a summary in this regard which was prepared and forwarded to the CDA board for approval has been sent back to the concerned directorate after been in pending for years in Secretary CDA board’s office.

In routine practice, when old dwellers evacuate any area in result of acquisition by the CDA, the new allottees start living in sectors developed on the same land. Generally, during this transitional phase, the plots meant for mosques are occupied by outsiders even before growth of any population in the area. These occupants of mosques’ plots are mostly strangers as they are neither old inhabitants nor new allottees.

There is no command and control of local people in the administration of such mosques as when they construct their houses, a mosque is already built up by others in the same area. Forceful occupation of mosque plots in underdeveloped sectors is no secret anymore. Every sect is in a hurry to grab maximum plots so there are temporary structures present in those sectors even before development.

The occupation of plots for mosque is also being facilitated by some foreign elements by providing funding on sectarian grounds, which is a question for law enforcement agencies as no watchdog is there to ask them that how such huge buildings could be constructed without local funding.

The Directorate of Urban Planning apital Development Authority  had purposed a policy in 2017 for allotment and regularisation of mosque plots to end the monopoly of stranger elements, but the same could not be presented before the board due to the extensive pressure of religious groups.

The religious circles in a bid to halt the policy from being approved had bring two ministers; the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and the State Minister for Religious Affairs at the CDA headquarters and restrained the management from approving this policy.

Currently, there are 4 types of mosques in Islamabad: Legal mosques which are constructed on approved sites and their possession is handed over to the management committee through the proper channel, unauthorised mosques which are constructed on approved sites but without permission, illegal mosques which are constructed on unapproved sites without permission and old mosques which existed in old villages before the acquisition by the CDA.

The policy suggested that after growth of sufficient population, the planned site should be allotted to the management committee comprising of allottees or permanent residents of the area constituted or recommended by the Auqaf Directorate of ICT.

The policy further suggested that unauthorised mosques should be regularised on the same formula, but on case-to-case basis.

Another point which appears hard to be implemented is that the structures of illegal mosques might be removed with the assistance of the ICT and no alternative sites for illegal mosques would be planned.

In case of old mosques, the present structure of the mosque might be retained until development as per layout plan of the area. A NOC may be issued for installation of service connections but same would not be used to claim any right or regularisation.

The policy also suggested allotting new mosque sites keeping in view the need of locality on unutilised land of the apital Development Authority  and it will be disposed off on the same formula given above. Furthermore, the policy asked to allow ground plus floor structure for mosques as currently ground plus mezzanine floors are allowed.

The aforementioned points of the policy are to fix the problems in already planned sector however the policy also proposes for future that the authority should itself build mosques and then hand over them to management committees through Auqaf Directorate as it was decided in the case of park enclave.

When contacted, the Chief Commissioner Islamabad and Chairman CDA Amir Ali Ahmed said that they were working on it and trying to take the district administration and police on board after which we will get its approval from apital Development Authority  board and implement it across the board.