The Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the district administration carried out the anti-encroachment drive on the second day and razed several structures along Kashmir Highway.
Teams of the civic bodies accompanied by a large number of gun-holding personnel of law-enforcement agencies and police demolished over a dozen commercial buildings, marquees and an international fast food restaurant chain on Saturday.
The operation was carried out in Zone I of the capital, on the right of way of Kashmir Highway, and in Sector G-12.
A total of 20 people were arrested for resisting and manhandling the additional deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner.
The operation was supervised by CDA Member Estate Khushal Khan while Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, Senior Superintendent of Police Najeebur Rehman and Rangers and police officials also oversaw the operation.
The CDA’s enforcement directorate, the building control section and emergency and disaster management, as well as Rescue 1122 and other departments also took part in the operation.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the operation was being carried out on directives Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that such operations against illegal holdings and structures will be extended to other cities including Lahore.
The Islamabad deputy commissioner said that the operation was carried out on the CDA’s request, as according to him, all legal requirements such as issuing notices to the encroachers were exhausted but they were not vacating the illegal occupation.
Shafqaat, who earlier also served as the head of the CDA’s directorate of municipal administration, said that a number of commercial buildings had been built along the Kashmir Highway, despite the fact construction of commercial buildings along the highway was not allowed.
“Buildings had been constructed along the Kashmir Highway and in G-12 without approval and getting no-objection certificates from the CDA. “No construction is allowed on the right of way of the Kashmir Highway but even an international food chain’s outlet was established there, so it was decided to remove them as all the construction had been carried out in violation of CDA rules,” he said.
“As many as 12 large buildings were demolished, which included plazas and wedding halls. However, it was decided not to take action against fruit and vegetable sellers, who have small set up smalls or sell the commodity on handcarts. The houses where families live were also left out in the operation because we did not want to hurt families,” he said.
“The operation was only held against influential people and big fish. As many as 20 people were arrested as they manhandled the assistant commissioner and the assistant deputy commissioner,” he said.
“We have cleared the G-12 strip, and are hoping that others also remove the encroachments as it has been made clear that the operation will not be stopped. We have decided to intensify the operation further until Muharram; it will be stopped for a month in Muharram and then will resume again,” he said.
The land in G-12 is worth Rs50 billion, but the whole area has become a ‘slum’.
According to a statement issued by the CDA, “a massive operation was conducted on the right of way of the Kashmir Highway against encroachments and illegal construction, in which many buildings constructed illegally or in violation of CDA building regulations were demolished”.
Marquees illegally established on several kanals of state land and against building regulations were also demolished, it said. The demolished marquees included Venue Marquee, Anabia Marquee, Galaxy Marquee and two under-construction marquees as well, the CDA said
Japan Motors Showroom, Crown Boys Hostel, One Dollar Shop, Sawat Shanwari, Mehfil Restaurant and Moon Restaurant were also demolished.