CDA awaits nod to Diplomatic Enclave construction law

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ISLAMABAD For the last over six months, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has been waiting for the approval of its amended by-laws relating to the Diplomatic Enclave buildings by the prime ministerís secretariat. Documents available with Dawn showed that in its amended by-laws the civic agency has reduced the number of storeys in the Diplomatic Enclave from seven to five. In 2008, the CDA had enhanced the limit from three to eight storeys. It may be recalled that in January 2012, the US embassy got approval from the CDA for construction of a seven-storey building in the diplomatic enclave.

The proposed amendment is, however, likely to hit the construction of the embassy building because it will empower the civic agency to cancel the NOC it had earlier issued for its construction.

The CDA board in its 11th meeting in June 2012 examined the matter related to the by-laws for the building of embassies and foreign missions and after approval sent it to the prime minister secretariat in September.

According to the documents, the CDA director-general planning told the board meeting that while giving permission to the embassies and foreign missions the authority had overlooked the fact that the rooftops of their buildings might be used for surveillance of the parliament, Presidency, prime ministerís secretariat and other important buildings in the vicinity of the Constitution Avenue.

He said the quarters concerned had warned that the high-rise buildings can be utilised for electronically monitoring the important offices of the government and suggested that the no-objection cenrtificate for the US embassy may be put on hold and the CDA rules should be appropriately amended in order to regulate the height of non-government structures at the Constitution Avenue.Ē

It may be pertinent to mention that in May last year a retired army officer had also challenged the proposed expansion of the US embassy in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

His petition alleged that the expanded compound would be sufficient to house hundreds of new employees.

Courtesy: Tribune

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