islamabad - The government has asked the Capital Development Authority to remove illegal encroachments from all areas of the city including the Diplomatic Enclave, The Nation has learnt reliably.

Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the prime minister and minister for state, has noted that foreign missions and representatives of the international organisations in Pakistan have become afflicted with the disease of encroachment that has ravaged Pakistani society for the past many years. “This activity may have no official name or nomenclature but is generally described as land grabbing and illegal encroachment and is popularly ascribed to the land mafia in the country,” he noted as he asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to carry out a physical survey of the illegal encroachments and clear these encroachments at the earliest.

According to a letter written to the chairman CDA, a copy of which is available with The Nation, Fatemi visited the Diplomatic Enclave last month and observed that some of the diplomatic missions appeared not satisfied with what had been allotted to them by the government and instead engaged in systematic encroachment upon adjoining plots of land and more particularly, the road sides, on the plea of ensuring better security.

He admitted that the security situation in the country demands appropriate security measures that may include additional physical infrastructure and installations of electronic devices, but all such measures should be carried out within the confines of the allotted land and in conformity with the law of the land. “Instead many of the diplomatic missions have encroached upon footpaths, side-roads and public thoroughfares, turning them into additional parking sites for their vehicles,” he expressed his concern. “This is in gross violation of our regulations as well as a contraventions of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1960 and Vienna Convention and Consular Relations, 1963, to which all these countries are signatory. While in their own country they will not permit, rightly so, even a single car to be parked outside a foreign diplomatic mission, here in Pakistan they have no hesitation in engaging in activities that clearly violate diplomatic norms and practices,” he viewed.

He particularly pointed out the French Embassy which, according to him, has encroached upon the capital city’s most important thoroughfare, the Constitution Avenue, by building any ugly wall on the avenue itself, cutting off trees and destroying the look of this beautiful road.

He told the CDA chairman that providing these foreign missions with adequate security is responsibility of the government and it has always been a top priority of the government but it cannot allow them to raise hideous structures, wherever and whenever they so please.

He also regretted that the CDA itself has been an accomplice in this activity, having reportedly granted permission to some of these missions to encroach upon adjoining lands. He expressed deep anger and disappointment at the negligence of CDA which has ‘either permitted the foreign missions to encroach upon adjoining side roads and green areas of the capital city or acquiesced in their illegal activities.’ “If this trend is not reversed, the foreign mission would turn our avenues and roads into congested narrow lanes,” he feared.