ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s plan of cutting through the Margalla Hills for the expansion of Islamabad city has drawn severe criticism and has been termed an “environmental disaster”.
The project is currently at its initial stage, but if the federal government decides to implement it, Islamabad would be expanded beyond the Margalla Hills. The new site will be connected through a tunnel.
As per media reports, the proposed project has three main components. First, the land available on the other side of Margalla Hills will be used for new residential sectors.
However, according to an official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the federal government would have to talk to the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government as the area borders the provincial boundary.
Second, a new international airport will be built in Rawat which would be connected to the motorway.
Third, an 8 to 10 lane highway would be constructed on the lines of Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, connecting Rawat airport to the main city. Both sides of the road will be earmarked for high rise buildings. It is worth mentioning that a known real estate developer of the country had, in the past, floated the idea of developing Islamabad Expressway on the model of the Sheikh Zayed Road.
Prime Minister Sharif has already asked the CDA to prepare the blueprints of the project.
Confirming conception of the project, the official spokesperson of CDA, Aasia Gul, said it was still at a very early stage.
Even the board of governors of the Pakistan Avenue Development Company (which the CDA has set up for this scheme) is yet to meet for the first time, she said.
She confirmed that the government had tasked the CDA to develop the project under which the capital will be expanded across the Margalla Hills and also towards Rawat.
“Since the project is in its planning stage, it’s difficult to explain its contours,” added Gul. On the other hand, opponents of the plan have already started criticising the project. internews