Islamabad, the new capital of Pakistan, began to be built in the ‘60s and was designed by Constantinos Doxiadis, the Greek visionary town planner. In the master plan for Islamabad, Banigalla and Shakarparian were part of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP). The Rawal Lake and its catchment area, which supplied water to Rawalpindi, were both located in Banigalla.The elite began a land grab in Banigalla in the ‘80s, and when the CDA launched a drive to clear it in 1992, the Islamabad High Court followed by the Supreme Court, legitimized their takeover of the MHNP land in judgments of 1998and 1999, respectively. These opened the floodgates for unplanned construction in Banigalla, and the pollution of the Rawal Lake and the Korang River (which flows into the Rawal Lake), followed. Tariq Afridi, the son of Lt Gen Yusuf and grandson of the PM of Kalat, hails from Kohat. He joined the Foreign Service and served as Pakistan’s ambassador with distinction, met his glamorous show jumper Brazilian wife on the polo field, and when he retired, opted to buy land in Banigalla as the CDA developed sectors were too expensive. By 2005 the area was already inhabited by a large number of people, including such luminaries as Owais Leghari, Dr AQ Khan and Imran Khan, amongst others.Land in Banigalla is shamalat land (land belonging to the village), and therefore all transactions are made through the Union Council rather than the CDA. Begum Sughra Ali Mahmood sold 2 kanals of land to Tariq Afridi in 2005. All legal requirements were fulfilled and the transfer registered with the patwaris, tehsildar, and the Department of Revenue. The same procedure was followed when Tariq Afridi gifted the house to his wife, Cristina Afridi, in 2008. IESCO installed the transformer and the electricity meter, after they were given proof of the ownership of the house. They started building the house soon after taking possession of the land, and installed a septic tank to prevent any sewage flowing into the Korang River nearby.When the Prime Minister asked the Supreme Court to take notice of the increasingly unregulated construction, particularly commercial plazas in Banigalla, and someone else raised the issue of the pollution of the Rawal Lake and the Korang River, the administration asked for the demolition of three houses, based on an outdated masavi/survey of the river carried out in 1956. It is ironic that law abiding citizens, who have only given back to the country, whether it is in the fight against drugs, protection of environment, or serving the country with integrity as a diplomat, should now be victimised by an administration covering its own omissions and poor governance by making these people scapegoatsAccording to this survey, these three houses were in the middle of the Korang River, but the river had changed course many decades back, and this was not the case anymore. The survey should be carried out every twenty-five years according to the regulations, but the Survey Department had been negligent. These houses were neither in the middle of the river, and nor were they polluting it, as each one of them had their own septic tanks.The malafide intention of the administration was evident when they used the argument that no construction can be carried out within 200 ft of the river, but no such law exists except for the protection of the heritage sites, and it is certainly not applicable in Phase IV of Islamabad Capital Territory where Banigalla is located. Effluents are pouring into the Korang from the 21 kilometres upstream, where poultry farms, tenement housing and other industries are located, or from the villas on the banks of the Rawal Lake emptying their sewage into the Lake.When the review petition by these three houses was rejected, the houses of Natasha Jamal and Cristina Afridiwere given two months time to make alternative arrangements, while that of Esha Malik was given four months. However, the very next day, the house of Natasha Jamal was demolished without a court order. When her lawyer filed a contempt of court petition, it was dismissed outright.Both Cristina and Tariq have created the KKAWF, a foundation to fight the spread of drug abuse, especially amongst children and youth. Their activities and mobilization campaign have been recognized by the UNODC. Cristina has also been active in Green Force, a group of volunteers working for the environmental protection of Islamabad. She played a lead role in a drive to clean up the Korang River in April 2015, and hundreds of school children were mobilized to clean up the riverbank.When the whole of Banigalla is being regularized, why are these three houses being made an exception? The arguments that these houses are in the middle of the river, and not at a distance of 200 feet from it, are completely false.It is ironic that law abiding citizens, who have only given back to the country, whether it is in the fight against drugs, protection of environment, or serving the country with integrity as a diplomat, should now be victimized by an administration covering its own omissions and poor governance by making these people scapegoats.The CJP has been visiting hospitals and other government departments where he has made observations about the negligence of the administration; in order to prevent the miscarriage of justice, the CJP may kindly visit the site and ascertain the facts for himself.The writer is a retired executive who resides in the USAPublished in Daily Times, November 21st 2018.