Enter Islamabad’s tribal area!


ISLAMABAD: There is a tribal area in Islamabad but without a political as well as FCR. However, the dominant tribe is not ethically related. They are the newly-rich pothoharis. Thanks of General Pervez Musharraf, who chose Chak Shahzad farm are for his residence and replaced bumpy, shady and deserted Park Road into a four-lane expressway. The over-night changes towards civilization took toll on Islamabad’s master plan as well as the common man. The greenbelt and the land earmarked for service road adjacent to the Park Road’s right side stands annexed, under the very nose of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) or Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA). From a former chief minister to retired civil, military servants took the initiative. Even a 10-marla residence on the right bank of Park Road when driving from Rawal Chowk can be seen annexing a bigger patch of land for vegetables, lawn or car parking on the front much bigger than his land owning. There is no check by the CDA/DMA. Instead, there are cheques for the civic body officials and so called law enforcers. Keep driving on the road towards Tarmari from Rawal Chowk and you will see weird and bizarre names of housing schemes of avenues, which don’t even exist in the Capital Development Authority papers. Of late, if some of them do, local PMLN and PPP leadership gets the credit for this wonder. A wedding hall only a kilometer south of Musharraf’s villa, the entire greenbelt has been leveled for the wedding entourages to conveniently park there. Another kilometer down the road is 13-storey building owned by a KPK politician. Predominantly, the landowner build house here without bothering the CDA/DMA for approval of its layout. Until a few years ago, Sui Northern, IESCO and PTCL officials were refusing to connection applications. But then, they say money makes the mare go. It literally did. Thanks to the government for promising to never invest in the public section education, private sector schools, colleges and universities mushroom along either sides of the Park Road. Commercial educational institutions are doing roaring business in residential areas. Whenever the officials happen to visit, it is to facilitate the businesses while the middle class tenant can go to hell, literally.With the rise in students here, hostels crop up on monthly basis, if not weekly. In one locality, a land developer does not shy away placing a notice adjacent to traffic barrier, warning that no one can open a hostel except him or without his approval in the area. Some students love to live an independent, unchecked hostel life here while others complain of noise, bullying and poor living conditions. Families living on rent, of course, have no rights. They should not mess with the land developer as well as the youth, male and female, living in the hostels. Ironically, there are two police stations and safe houses of other security agencies. Regardless, what happens here stay here! Off and on, certain villagers occupying the CDA/DMA land are searched for housing someone suspicious. The rarest visitors of the Park Road are traffic police personnel. Over-speeding and lane violations are no crimes. From a truck to a taxi or a motorcyclist, anyone can drive against the traffic with impunity. During the rush hours, early morning and noon, mighty buses of COMSATS University shame drag racers with wide margins. As if this was not enough, rash-driving university students and self-righteous tractor-trolleys make up for the mayhem.It’s pertinent to mention here that this tribal area expands where foundations of Shahzad Model Town, or Chak Shahzad, were once laid. Those were the days when Islamabad used to be beautiful. Now, you live in Islamabad, the snobbish!

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Aaj Kal