ISLAMABAD - “Neither do we have carpeted streets, parks, street lights nor a decent sized graveyard,” said Mr. Khattak resident of F-15 Khayaban-e-Kashmir G-15 and F-15, a project of Jammu Kashmir Cooperative Housing society (JKCHS). “All the management committees have always looted the assets of the society and no one has ever worked for the betterment of residents and plot holders,” he emphasized.
Mr. Khattak, a retired bureaucrat, has even made his own party Welfare Group to contest elections which happen every three years to elect a body of residents and plot holders. The elected body runs the administration of the housing society. He said, “The winning group always consists of real estate mafia who are backed by politicians of different parties having vested interests in the housing society.” He added, “Some of our residents are already seeking ways to sell their houses here and move to CDA sectors which have better facilities.”
Cooperative societies come under The Cooperative Act 1925 which allows 20 or more people to register a company for the welfare of the community. Cooperative housing societies fall under the DC office which has a registrar who registers the newly formed society and conducts elections to elect the management committee of the society. According to a former DC of Islamabad who spoke on the condition of anonymity, “Cooperative models are very successful in India but unfortunately cooperative spirit doesn’t exist in Pakistan. There are 19 cooperative housing societies in Islamabad. Government stopped registering cooperative housing societies in 90s except for IB cooperative housing society known as Gulberg Greens Islamabad on special approval from then President Pervez Musharraf in 2007.”
According to former DC, nobody has worked particularly for JKCHS. Plots were sold without having any land and management committees had no intention of procuring the land. Last management committee, 2019-2022, made cases against the former management committees, forwarded them to the DC office which after enquiry sent them to NAB and FIA. The fate of those cases might also be similar to the fate of other cases in those institutions.
Plots were sold to the buyers by real estate agents claiming that Khayaban-e-Kashmir will be taken over by CDA after 80% construction of plots but when we contacted the registrar office in F-8, we were told that there is no such law that allows CDA to take over the cooperative housing society.
Khayaban-e-Kashmir falls in the constituency of Asad Umar who is an elected member of National Assembly. He has categorically stated that the government can’t do anything in cooperative housing society. It would require special approval from the federal cabinet to even asphalt a street.
Khayaban-e-Kashmir is ideally located around Srinagar Highway, Zone 2 of Islamabad which has entrance from GT road. There are almost 7500 families living in the vicinity in residential flats and houses. They have all major private schools, banks and medical facilities. The main Markaz and mini markets do not have enough parking spaces when compared with CDA sectors. Cooperative housing societies have to make their own budget but the elected management committees don’t implement property taxes and revenue taxes on properties fearing they won’t get votes in elections. The 2019-2022 management committee has just finished three-year term and is waiting for the next election date by cooperative housing registrar of ICT. The elections should be held within 90 days upon completion of the term and should transfer reigns of the society to administrator of ICT which should be a BS-17 officer.
“Last three years were the paramount years in terms of development, maintenance, fraud reduction and accountability of JKCHS,” said Malik Nazir Awan ex-vice chairman of JKCHS. “We have asphalted almost 90% of the streets of F-15 and installed almost 90% of street lights in G-15. We tried to overcome water deficit by digging several tube wells but they weren’t successful as water level has depleted in almost all of Islamabad.”
Former General Secretary Sardar Sabeel of 2019-2022 committee said, “We made better security arrangements, installed safe city cameras, started one window operation, introduced new safety featured allotment letters, ran a massive plantation drive, modified sewerage channels in F-15 and even bought an ambulance for our residents of Khayaban-e-Kashmir.” Federal Government also purchased land from the society and then built Islamabad Model College for Boys, the only government institute in Khayaban-e-Kashmir. When asked about accountability of previous management committees he said, “We are the first to start accountability in JKCHS and have made cases against the former management committee members. Cases include fraudulent land agreements, selling multiple plots on one allotment letter and China-cutting on land which was designated for parks, graveyard and a library for sector G-15 and F-15. The layout plan which was approved by CDA in 2002 was severely tampered, plots were created on green areas, nullahs/ natural water ways and also residential plots were shifted to commercial plots illegally. We have sent cases to the concerned authorities.”
Residents of Khayaban-e-Kashmir seem split on both parties’ statements. Mr. Jawed, a senior citizen and resident of F-15 since 2013 said, “The management committee 2019- 2022 has asphalted our streets which were overdue, managed garbage collection efficiently, did better landscaping and also planted lots of trees for the aesthetics. Overall, they did a good job. Even though we don’t have enough water, parks, and street lights, I think if this management committee will be given another chance in the upcoming elections, they might raise these issues and devise the required action plan.”
–The writer is a freelance