ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted to admit the Adjournment Motion moved by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed regarding the attempt by CDA to convert 1400 acres of land of Pakistan’s premier agricultural research centre, NARC, into commercial plots.
In his speech, Senator Mushahid highlighted three points in support of his Adjournment Motion. First, the key role of National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) in promotion of research on agricultural production, thereby saving foreign exchange and increasing agricultural yields, a role that NARC is playing since 1984. NARC is vital for Pakistan’s agricultural base, he emphasized.
Second, CDA is trying to seize 1400 acres of NARC land which is not part of its Master Plan and is a violation of existing laws, rules and regulations.
In any case, CDA’s own track record of handling land in Islamabad can be seen from the failure of its Park Enclave, launched in 2011, on which it collected advanced payment from potential owners of over Rs 2 billion, while they have yet to develop this sector or give the plots to those who paid for these for the last 4 years.
Another green area of Islamabad would become Victim to developers greed, he added, and this would promote unrelenting construction and tree-cutting.
Third, Mushahid Hussain, criticized that Pakistan and its elite are developing a reputation of a ‘greedy and grabby political culture with a quest for qabza paramount’.
He questioned, ‘how much land does a man need’ and there should be a limit to this ‘greedy and grabby’ culture that has no limits, even trying to seize land belonging to research institutions, with this obsession with plots from those who already have the means.
Mushahid also said that the board of governors of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, in its meeting of July 1, 2015, had opposed the move of CDA to grab the 1400 acres of land belonging to NARC. He said as an elected Senator from Islamabad, he felt it necessary to preserve and protect Islamabad as a beautiful, green capital.
The Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, while admitting the Adjournment Motion, said he would fix a time and date for discussion of this issue in the Senate. The members thumped the desks and applauded the Chairman for this decision.