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October 8, 2019

A man with the potential to leave a legacy


October 8, 2019

He was kind of burrowed in files that took over considerable portion of his mammoth table. By the time we were done with interview in hardly 20 minutes, he had signed almost all the documents in these files while explaining all the important issues about the federal capital.

This is Amir Ali Ahmed (AAA), responsive and logical. He grabs two most important seats of Islamabad - the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman and Chief Commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Muhammad Asad Chaudhry told me that AAA’s father Saeed Mehdi had also held the office of the CDA chairman.“At ICT, it is not too complicated to go through files. But the CDA is a different story. You have to be very careful signing these files,” AAA told me at the start of the meeting.

He said most of the time, CDA is criticised for all the wrong reasons. “Up to 11,000 employees of this organisation have gone to Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI). Now we are left with very limited staff and our mandate is development and planning,” he said.

He said the CDA has finally approved PC-I to develop Sector I-15. “We are also going to develop E-12, I-12 and I-14. The process that has been set in motion now will take a lot of effort if someone tries to roll it back after me,” he said.

Development of these new sectors is perhaps the legacy he may leave. If he succeeds in developing these sectors, it will be a bumper achievement as these sectors have been stalled for decades and in some cases the people who have been allotted plots have died before getting possession.

“We generated record funds through auction of plots. The prime minister has also appreciated our efforts. And we are going to hold auction of smaller plots by the end of this month. It will generate a lot of money,” he said.

Asked what they do with this money, he said they plan and develop the city. “Apart from these sectors, we have enough funds to build new bridges on Islamabad Expressway from Old Airport Chowk to Rawat. This piece of road is like a sour thumb,” he said.

He said once the bridges are extended, the major source of congestion on this road will be removed and traffic will be fine. “We shall do it with our own resources. So in the future when funds for this road are set aside, we can consume them in another value-added adventure,” he said.

He said though cleaning the city is not CDA’s job, he takes extra steps to make sure that the city is clean.“Had I been in-charge of MCI, I would never have taken 11,000 employees when I have to outsource most of the services. It is the worst example of bad management,” he said.

He had a lot of data to share to explain a lot of things. He is a good man but then he is also a bureaucrat to the bones. I enjoyed noticing that he still uses some textbook methods to assess the people he meets.

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