CDA Property Tax Bill
Master Plan - Background
Final Master Plan for Islamabad, 1960. Source: (Capital Development Authority Archives, Iqbal Hall, G-7, Islamabad).

After the formation of Pakistan in 1947, it was felt that a new and permanent Capital City had to be built to reflect the diversity of the Pakistani nation. It was considered pertinent to locate the new capital where it could be isolated from the business and commercial activity of the Karachi, and yet is easily accessible from the remotest corner of the country. A commission was accordingly set in motion in 1958, entrusted with the task of selecting a suitable site for the new capital with a particular emphasis on location, climate, logistics and defense requirements, aesthetics, and scenic and natural beauty.

After extensive research, feasibility studies and a thorough review of various sites, the commission recommended the area North East of the historic garrison city of Rawalpindi. After the final decision of the National Cabinet, it was put into practice. A Greek firm, Doxiadis Associates devised a master plan based on a grid system, with its north facing the Margallah Hills. The long-term plan was that Islamabad would eventually encompass Rawalpindi entirely, stretching to the West of the historic Grand Trunk road.

As per Master Plan, the metropolitan area of Islamabad was divided into three major parts i.e Islamabad, National Park (Islamabad Park), Rawalpindi and the Cantonment.

In 1963 the Capital of the Republic (Determination of Area) Ordinance was promulgated and the specified area in the schedule measuring three hundred and fifty square miles (350 square miles or 906 Sq. Km) or thereabout within the district of Rawalpindi in the Province of Punjab at the site selected for the Capital of Pakistan was declared the area of the Capital of the Republic. Thus the area of Rawalpindi and Rawalpindi Cantonment was separated from the Master Plan of Islamabad.

In 1986 and 2005 CDA made two comprehensive reviews of the Master Plan of Islamabad but both reviews could not obtain approval of the Federal Cabinet.

In compliance of the Supreme Court Order in SMC 10 of 2007, CDA amended the ICT Zoning Regulations 1992 in 2010 in which the Zone-4 of Islamabad was further subdivided into 4 Zones.

In 2015, government promulgated the Islamabad Local Government Act 2015 and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad was established to perform the municipal functions in Islamabad. The whole city was divided into 50 Union Councils including the sectoral area.

CDA Board in its meeting held on 17-01-2018 decided to hire the services of consultants for review of the Master Plan but the work could not be started due to the forthcoming election and change of the government.

Islamabad High Court in its Judgment dated 09-07-2018 in WP No.676/2017, highlighted the necessity of review of Master Plan directed the Federal Government to forthwith take steps of constituting a Commission, inter alia, of professional experts, preferably of international repute, in the field of town planning, environmental management and finance. The Commission shall make recommendations to the Federal Government. The terms of reference shall also be formulated by experts.