Illegal Societies in Islamabad: Property occupying by illegal means is not a new phenomenon; rather this practice is common in our society. Illegal properties are such possessions that are constructed without any construction permit from the respective authorities or the government. Illegal possession of the property is not unusual, it can be observed commonly in Pakistan.
We have observed many cases and disputes between individuals and the high authorities over illegal possession of the immovable property. The legality of private housing societies is a major issue that has been highlighted in the media lately.
CDA estimated that 140 illegal housing societies within Islamabad
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) estimated that there are 140 illegal housing societies within Islamabad. It is because they lack approvals from the public organization due to not submitting Layout Plans and No Objection Certificates (NOC).
For instance, Chinar Town in H-17, Qamar Garden in H-15, Tayyab Garden in H-15, Al-Rahman Villas Kurri Road near Attock Petroleum, Danyal Town Hurno Thanda Pani Lehtrar Road, Askari Town Japam Road etc.
These 140 societies are neither registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) nor have they approached CDA for approval of Layout Plans and issuance of NOC.
The CDA has issued a list of legal societies, numbering 64, to inform the public and refrain them from investing in illicit societies. We studied this list of 64 legal societies and found that only 22 have NOC. This puts legal societies at 10 percent of the total.
According to a government report, CDA has not been able to launch any new residential sector in the past twenty years. The private sector was encouraged to enter the housing market to meet the rising demand for the residential sector in Islamabad.
A widespread governing administration manages the development of private housing societies in Zone-2, 4, and 5 of ICT. Before investing in societies or properties keep in mind to follow the steps by CDA. The average time taken by CDA for NOC approval is two-and-a-half years.
The average time for development work after the approval of NOC is 12 years, extending to over two decades in most cases. These lengthy and cumbersome procedures push sponsors away from seeking permission.
CDA has extended authorities to regulate the development of housing societies. The scrutiny of the Layout Plan (LOP), issuance of NOC, and regular inspection of the quality of work, among many other requirements, all provide CDA a leading outline to monitor housing societies. CDA can even take possession of a society if the sponsor cannot complete it within due time.
A special review of the Housing Societies Directorate of CDA for 2011-16 by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) uncovered serious irregularities and non-compliance in issuing of NOCs (AGP, 2017). They issued NOCs without proof of ownership of land, based on fake documents, or for areas outside of ICT.
A weak internal inspection system could not identify financial irregularities within the department, and lack of checks and balances failed to fix responsibility for losses to the public. The Housing Directorate of CDA is neither adequately equipped to inspect the area for illegal construction nor has the powers for demolishing illegal constructions.
It was reported that CDA had allotted 22 NOCs in the past 30 years in Zones 2, 4, and 5. These schemes cover only 6.8% of the total land of these zones. 1.26 Million Kanal of land is under illegal possession and being sold under the garb of housing societies, and 99% of these illegal societies are incomplete. People have lost their money to the tune of PKR. 5200 billion in these illegal societies.