More than a year has passed, and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) finds itself in a holding pattern, awaiting the federal government’s approval to form a commission tasked with revising the master plan of the capital city.
Commission on Master Plan of Islamabad
The CDA initiated the process in December of the previous year by submitting a summary to the federal government, proposing new names for the commission. This step was taken after the previous commission became inactive, necessitating the formation of a new body to address critical updates to the city’s master plan.
Despite the urgency and relevance of the matter, an official from the CDA revealed that there has been no substantial progress on the summary. The CDA submitted approximately 21 names for the commission’s consideration, highlighting the gravity of the situation. The delay in the approval process has left the city’s master plan in a state of limbo as it grapples with changes imposed by successive federal governments without the input of professional consultants.
The federal capital, designed according to a master plan developed in 1960 by Greece-based firm Doxiadis Associates, has experienced nearly 45 alterations over the years. The absence of a comprehensive revision raises concerns about the city’s sustainable development and adherence to modern urban planning principles.
Doxiadis Associates had initially recommended a revision of the master plan every 20 years, a practice that has not been implemented. The PTI government, upon assuming power in 2018, pledged to revise the master plan, forming a commission for this purpose. However, the commission’s progress was hampered, and it ultimately left the task of revision to a professional firm, a step that could not be realized before the end of the PTI government’s tenure in April last year.
Subsequently, a new commission was proposed, and a summary was sent to the Ministry of Interior for its reconstitution. Unfortunately, the approval process has been delayed, leaving the city without a dedicated body to address vital planning issues.
Emphasis on the Commission on Master Plan
An unnamed member of the CDA board stressed the urgency of the master plan revision, noting that the civic body has consistently raised the matter with the government to no avail. He emphasized that revisions should ideally occur every 20 years, underlining the need for sustained urban development.
In a related development, the planning wing of the CDA has been without its head for the past month, as Planning Member Waseem Hayat Bajwa was posted out in line with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s orders. The absence of a qualified town planner at the helm further underscores the challenges the CDA faces in addressing critical planning issues.
CDA officials are urging the federal government to reconsider the formation of the commission and emphasize the appointment of a qualified town planner to execute the revision of Islamabad’s master plan and tackle persistent planning challenges. The delay in these crucial processes hampers the city’s ability to adapt to evolving needs and maintain a sustainable and modern urban environment.