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Friday June 14, 2024

Portion of PTI’s central office in Islamabad demolished

Capital Development Authority says portion demolished over building rules “violation”

By Haider Sherazi
May 24, 2024
CDA machinery demolishing a portion of the PTIs Central Secretariat in Islamabad, on May 23, 2024. — Screengrab/X/@PTIOfficial
CDA machinery demolishing a portion of the PTI's Central Secretariat in Islamabad, on May 23, 2024. — Screengrab/X/@PTIOfficial

ISLAMABAD: Authorities in the federal capital demolished a portion of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Central Secretariat in Islamabad late Thursday, inviting strong criticism from the former ruling party.

The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) anti-encroachment team launched the action, citing a “violation of building rules”. The operation began at around 11:30pm and ended after an hour.

In a statement, the CDA said that it's anti-encroachment team launched an operation late Thursday to eliminate illegal construction and encroachment.

It further said that encroachment by a "political party" was being eliminated and added that the plot was allotted in the name of a person named Sartaj Ali.

The CDA said that an additional floor was also constructed on the plot in violation of the building rules. The body added that it had issued notices to the party, but to no avail.

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub speaks to reporters in Islamabad, on May 24, 2024. — Screengrab/GeoNews
PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub speaks to reporters in Islamabad, on May 24, 2024. — Screengrab/GeoNews

As the operation was underway, the PTI called upon its workers to immediately arrive at the secretariat. The party said that the government has started demolishing the office in an "illegal and unjust manner". 

While the body said that it had sent multiple notices to the formerly ruling party, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan shot down the claims and said that they did not receive any orders from the CDA.

He also added that CDA officials were asked to provide documents regarding the operation, however, they failed to produce them. "If there had been any encroachments and they had informed us about them earlier, we would have removed them ourselves," he insisted.

Talking to the media outside the office, PTI Secretary-General Omar Ayub strongly condemned the late-night action, saying that the party would raise the issue of the CDA in the assembly.

"The PTI condemns the CDA action in the strongest terms," he said, as he drew parallels to the operation to the onslaught of Israel on Gaza, where thousands have lost their lives and hunger is being used as a weapon.

Ayub said the city administration launched the operation at night without prior notice. He also added that police authorities arrested party leader Amir Mughal.

Following the completion of the operation, the CDA officials sealed the PTI's central office and also pasted the order on it.

During this process, PTI activists resisted the government's attempts to demolish the office, leading to the arrest of some party workers by the capital city authorities.