Islamabad – A City Destroyed By Its Guardian

Nothing could stop Islamabad from being listed as one of the most beautiful capitals of the world in 2019

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Islamabad was announced around 1960 as the new capital of Pakistan as its predecessor, Karachi, was deemed overcrowded and unsuitably positioned on country’s anew boundaries. The venue was chosen primarily due to its unique weather patterns, exquisite topography and, of course, its geopolitical positioning. The idea was the baby of first military dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan who also happened to lay the foundation of Capital Development Authority (CDA) around that time.

Mandated with the sacred task of overseeing development, construction and upkeep of the new capital, CDA was designed along models of modern cities of the world. It was ought to follow their path for not only becoming self-sustainable but enabled to withstand future projections of population and constraints.

Islamabad – A City Destroyed By Its Guardian

New capital of a rather new country kick-started with CDA as its guardian angel and soon elevated as one of the best metropolitans in the world. Before long it was able to outshine a number of its counterparts around the world providing archetypal living to an afresh populace.

City’s development authority specialized in developing modern infrastructure, coining creative solutions to modern urban problems as well as landscaping & beautification. It represented future nonetheless.

CDA, PIA and PTV were one of the projects that a newborn country was able to pull off initially. With advent of time other departments were inspired by their brilliance and followed suite.

Momentarily, metropolitan authorities in the region, both here and abroad, began to look up to CDA for its inimitable processes and eccentric fashions of handling modern urban problems.

Also Read: Top 5 Coworking Spaces in Islamabad

Unfortunately, CDA’s days of glory were cut brief due to overwhelming interference of politics and bureaucratic manipulation of its staple systems. Merit was plummeted and was traded for nonconformist principles of nepotism and favoritism.

High standards of services & creativity became foremost affectees of altered traditions as they were substituted by malpractice & dereliction. Monetary benefits eventually replaced moral ethics thus igniting deterioration of the department as well as the city.

Unions, factions and all kinds of division overwhelmed its proficiency. Tug-of-war in central power arena had its spillover effect on many departments including CDA only to be reflected on the state of the city.

Though, in later years subsequent governments expressed apparent interest in restoring the department by handing over its leash to various vibrant professionals but in vain. Nothing sufficed due to lack of continuity.

Luckily, nothing could stop Islamabad from being listed as one of the most beautiful capitals of the world in 2019. Though the honor was chiefly associated to city’s natural features and layers of greenery which camouflages prime incompetence of present day CDA.

Islamabad’s close proximity to Margalla hills, plus the weather therefore, and its undulating landscape never cease to attract major attention. Hence, the reward.

The city is home to most of the ruling elite as well as corporate colossi which is always ready to invest in its beatification and glory provided they are assured of the right use of their funds. Whereas citizens are well-disciplined and the literacy rate is high as compared to many other cities which is definitely an added advantage.

Sectors that are on priority are well-kept by CDA and they exhibit matchless serenity and tranquility. Developed areas such as viewpoints at Margalla Hills, parks adjacent to Rawal Dam, trekking routes of Margalla National Park and a number of other landmarks & monuments foretell what CDA is capable of accomplishing if provided due diligence.

The prospect of improvement, therefore, exists. All that’s awaited is honest and dedicated leadership which can lead the department out of the dungeons and restore grandeur. A lot was expected from the incumbent PTI led government but it, too, hasn’t proven effective; not as yet.

Meanwhile, importance of Islamabad continue to soar in international world. Pakistan is playing positive role in several aspects of global development including restoration of peace and enhancement of trade.

The inception of CPEC in Pakistan as well as its role in America’s endeavor to exit Afghanistan peacefully has once again brought Islamabad to the limelight, but this time for good reasons only.

CDA will, first of all, have to be unencumbered through instant eradication of corruption from its system. Central government will have to step in and take revolutionary measures to eliminate malpractices while designing a development roadmap through efficient planning.

Refurbishment of existing sector will have to be adopted as frontrunner strategy. The department will have be strengthened through diligent reformation. Prime Minister’s vision to grow cities vertically must be followed religiously curbing the current unsolicited horizontal extension.

Nothing but revolutionary measures and extensive reform activities can reset the clock for the city which is heavily infested with encroachment and facing persistent degeneration of its water resources.

Recent surveys show that more people are migrating towards cities than ever before. Before long the soar in urban population will overburden the cities while Islamabad won’t be spared either. It is high time that reforms are adopted to save Islamabad in due time from becoming the next Karachi.


Junaid Rana

Junaid has earned his expertise in International Relations & Affairs from National Defence University Islamabad after graduating from the University of Balochistan with majors in Politics and Journalism. A realist in life but liberal in thoughts, the writer keeps a keen eye on Pakistan's local politics and changing internal dynamics while analyzing its impacts on the country's role as an international actor.

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