ISLAMABAD - A move to fill the vacant positions of Capital Development Authority Board from private sector for which a total of 323 aspirants have already applied is likely to face a delay because engineers of the civic body have decided to challenge the criteria set for the position of member planning and design.

It was decided by the engineers working in the Capital Development Authority that they would file a representation before the Pakistan Engineering Council against the criteria set for the post of member planning and design for further action on the appropriate forum.

As per criteria in the advertisement, only the town planners or architects could apply for the position of member planning and design while the engineers working inside the civic body feel aggrieved.

They were of the view that the post is not just for planning but it deals with the design and structure as well so how it is possible that it can be linked with town planners and architects only.

“If anybody goes through the list of planning and design members in CDA, he will find hardly few town planners as member; rest all were the engineers”, a senior engineer commented on the condition of anonymity.

On the other side, the Ministry of Interior has received 323 applications from private individuals to become the board members of CDA.

The Ministry of Interior had advertised 5 positions for the board members in last month while following a judgment passed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), in which the court had maintained that the existing practice to appoint the board members of the Capital Development Authority by federal government is against the spirit of law.

The judgment declared further that the federal government must fill the positions in civic body by appointing professionals of the relevant field through a competitive process.

The posts of member administration, member planning and design, member engineering, member estate and member finance were advertised and applications from highly-qualified professionals having extensive experience in the relevant filed were sought.

According to sources, in response to that advertisement, a total of 323 applications have been received in the Ministry of Interior that includes 308 applications against specific position of board members while 15 candidates just dropped their CVs without mentioning their desired position.

“Most of the applicants are retired military officers working in private ventures like DHA”, a well-placed source informed, adding: “A total of 103 applications have been received against the post of member engineering followed by 93 for the member administration.”

The Capital Development Authority board is an apex decision-making body, which comprised upon five board members while the Chief Commissioner Islamabad and Commissioner Rawalpindi are its ex-officio members.

However, under prevailing circumstances, the federal government is reluctant to appoint a new board member due to aforementioned decision of the Islamabad High Court.

Recently, after a standoff with previous chairman CDA Afzal Latif on regularisation of Banigala and the Grand Hayat Tower, the federal government under stopgap arrangement appointed a grade-20 officer Amir Ali Ahmed as Chairman CDA apparently because he was already an ex-officio board member of CDA being the chief commissioner Islamabad.

There is no permanent Member Planning and Design and a Director General Hafiz Ahsan-ul-Haq is looking after the affairs of Planning Wing ‘half-heartedly’ while he was also given another charge of Member Engineering few weeks back when his predecessor Hafiz Ahsan-ul-Haq was repatriated to his parent department National Highway Authority.

On the other side, the post of member administration is also vacant and the Member Estate Khushal Khan is looking its affairs in addition to his own duties. Member Finance Dr Fahad Aziz is a few months away from completion of his three years deputation period in CDA but he is uncertain about his extension.

The CDA board is in dare need of restructuring and if the process to appoint the board members would be halted then the development activities in the city would also be stalled.