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550 cases of non-conforming use of residential buildings pending

ISLAMABAD: About 550 cases of non-conforming use of residential buildings are pending adjudication with the CDA deputy commissioner.

Out of these, at least 220 cases are related to the conversion of residential houses into offices by the government, non-governmental organisations and private individuals.

A report submitted by the CDA to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) recently also highlighted the non-conforming use of residential buildings for other purposes as well.

According to the report, the government offices housed in the residences included Teachers Training Institute, Children Health Centre, National Police Foundation, Sui Gas Recovery Cell, an education office in Chak Shahzad, Comsat Educational Institute and over two dozens other offices and medical facilities.

In addition, the Institute of Regional Studies, United States Educational Foundation, Saudi School and famous educational chains like Beaconhouse, Roots International, International Grammar School, Air Foundation, City School along with 20 national and international NGOs were also running their offices in the residential buildings.

The report showed that 37 beauty parlours, 10 restaurants, 120 government and private educational institutes, 30 clinics and private hospitals, 40 guest houses, 30 hostels and 35 showrooms, stores and shops were also being run in private buildings in violation of the CDA building by-laws.

The report said 53 of the houses being used for commercial purposes were in E sectors, 905 in F, 461 in G sector, 375 in I sector and 279 in the model villages.

The authority served notices on 608 violators of the building by-laws and imposed a fine of Rs30.4 million on them.

The CDA deputy commissioner after examining and verifying 758 cases of non-conforming use withdrew the notices after the house owners removed the objections raised by the directorate of building control.

The report was submitted to the court in reply to a petition filed by the owner of a house at F-8/2 sector against commercial activities being carried out by his tenant on the premises.

The report said despite knowing the violators of the Islamabad Residential Sector Regulations 2005, the civic agency was helpless in taking action against them. It said soon after it issued notices to the owners for the non-confirming use, the latter managed to get stay orders from the courts.

The CDA stated that Col Javed Agha, an alleged violator of the building by-laws, set the trend of getting stay order to avoid action for the non-conforming use of his house when the CDA served him with a notice in 2001.

Mr Agha challenged the notice in the Lahore High Court (LHC)'s Rawalpindi bench which is still intact and hinders the authority from taking action against the other violators.

It added that the restraining order also paved the way for other violators to obtain stay orders to avoid action.
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