DHA growth

Published September 4, 2015

A CASE under way in the Supreme Court has cast light on the rapid growth of Defence Housing Authorities across Punjab and certain accompanying irregularities.

The growth of DHAs, housing societies meant for military officers, in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and Gujranwala, has developed along two lines.

One is the growth in actual size, and the second is the increase in the powers the authorities have picked up over the years, particularly during military rule.

Over the years, the upscale property developer of the Pakistan Army, which says it works for the “families of martyrs”, has acquired land sometimes in a questionable manner; at other places, it has obtained land that was earmarked for development projects meant to serve the civilian population.

This acquisition has taken place on such a large scale that it has invited scathing comments from the bench.

Also read: SC asks Lahore DHA to explain expansion

Meanwhile, the Punjab government appears to have remained more or less a passive observer of the entire process.

The provincial government has a large role to play in land acquisition and relevant approvals for subsequent development.

In Rawalpindi, for instance, provincial government functionaries did try to object to the grant of land on which the DHA is built. They argued that it was marked for a dam, but were unable to mount any serious challenge to the army’s bid to obtain the land for its property developer.

In other provinces, the sheer scale of growth of DHAs in the cities has inevitably constricted the supply of land that could be used for more affordable housing needed by the larger population. The Punjab government is either too powerless to regulate the pace and direction of land acquisition by this powerful property developer, or too timid to take a stand.

The result is a mushrooming growth of elite housing societies — while affordable housing lags far behind the numbers required for a growing population. It is all the more distressing to see this phenomenon unfold against the backdrop of what the army high command has described as an “existential war” that the country is waging against extremist militant groups.

The government in Punjab has no excuse to dither endlessly as large tracts of land are gobbled up for more speculative investment and servicing elite needs. Apart from taking action to curb this trend, it must announce an even more ambitious plan for allocating land for affordable housing to meet the needs of its citizens.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...