ISLAMABAD: Taking a U-turn from its earlier stance, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has apparently caved in to political pressure to let an influential builder encroach on a road segment in Sector F-10 Markaz, Daily Times has learnt. In a clear violation of rules and sector layout plan, a double-storey sales office with an area of 135-by-60 square feet has been set up by APCO Group on the road segment adjacent to the site where they are building a high-rise named ‘Park One’. Masood Abbasi, the chief executive officer of APCO, is the elder brother of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Senator Javed Abbasi. In 2014 and 2015, the CDA planning wing had declined Abbasi’s requests for permission to construct the sales office. A regret letter issued to the builder, a copy of which is available with Daily Times, categorically states that the request made by APCO to construct the site office cannot be granted because the requested location is earmarked as a 60-feet-wide road in the layout plan of Sector F-10 Markaz. However, Abbasi not only managed to encroach upon the public road but also constructed a huge sales office. The sales’ office houses a model apartment, a reception area and several offices. A petition was subsequently filed with the Islamabad High Court against APCO by the owner of an adjacent plot, the Azad Kashmir Logging and Sawmills Corporation (AKLASC). During an earlier hearing, CDA officials admitted that the APCO group had encroached upon the road, seeking time from the court to vacate the road by removing the illegal structure. However, in a U-turn from the authority’s earlier position apparently under political pressure, CDA member estate Kaushal Khan appeared in the court and stated that there was no encroachment on the site at present. His statement was confronted by the petitioner’s counsel. Then the court ordered Khushal Khan to submit a written report saying that there was no encroachment on ground. The court also sought assistance from CDA legal adviser Kashif Malik on relevant laws. The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for February 19. Officials in the CDA, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Daily Times that besides Senator Javed Abbasi, a former governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was also putting pressure on the authority to favour the builder. When contacted, CDA estate member Khushal Khan said that he had submitted before the court that there was no encroachment on the plot of petitioners. When asked about the sales office built on a road segment, he declined comment. Several attempts were made to contact Masood Abbasi but he remained unavailable for comment. When Senator Javed Abbasi was approached with queries about the issue, he said the structure (sales office) was temporary and would be removed after completion of the main building. Published in Daily Times, February 9th 2018.