Capital Development Authority
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CDA History

"What is the city but the people?" ~William Shakespeare

Pakistan's formation, tumultuous and full of turmoil, necessitated the formation of a new national capital. The forging of a new conscious political identity was the foremost reason, along with the fact that the existing, almost de-facto, capital Karachi was already under pressure socially, politically and economically. Karachi was not, in addition, a satisfactory solution from the points of view of climate, tradition and the existing buildings, which were inadequate in number and not quite up to the standards required by a capital.

The layout and structure of the existing port city did not allow it to take on the functions of a modern capital. On the other hand, the influx of refugees intensified the existing problems and created new ones. The solution to these problems was instituting a new capital, which could be planned, developed and built according to the Government's requirements and prerogatives. The location, after significant research and several reports on various settings for the capital, was chosen adjacent to the garrison city of Rawalpindi. And the city was named Islamabad. Islamabad, Pakistan. The City of Islam, Land of the Pure.

After the government of Pakistan's decision to relocate the capital of the country out of Karachi, an executive order was issued, setting into motion the creation of an organization essentially to oversee the planning and maintenance of Islamabad. The executive order, titled the Pakistan Capital Regulation was first passed on June 14, later to be superseded by the CDA Ordinance, issued on June 27, 1960. This ordinance laid down the charter of the fledgling organization, chaired by the then President, General Muhammad Ayub Khan, defined its jurisdiction, powers duties, functions and responsibilities.

During the early stages of the formation and development of the CDA, a Chairman, a Financial Advisor and a Board Member were handed the realm. The Commissioner of Rawalpindi was assigned an ex-officio Membership, for collaborative purposes. Since then, as the Authority has matured and grown along with the capital, several extra responsibilities have been added, including increasing its fold and control over municipal issues. Also, the organizational structure has undergone revamping to now comprises of Six Board Members, one each for Planning, Finance, Administration, Estate, Environment and Engineering, and the Chairman.

At this point, the CDA is responsible for coordinating all endeavors for the development of the whole of the capital region so that the unity of purpose is ensured at all times. Within Islamabad area, the CDA is not only the planning and coordinating Authority but also the executive Authority.

With the putting into action of Islamabad, the original master plan, devised by an international architecture firm, Doxiadis Associates, had provided only a broad outline or framework for the new capital. The actual implementation of the plan with all its intricate and complex nuances was made possible by the dedication, professionalism, expertise and tireless efforts of all the members of the CDA whose pioneering spirit has made the CDA a model town-planning organization.

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