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KARACHI: Federal government residential ‘quarters’ and flats in Martin Quarters, Federal Capital and Lines Areas, which were allotted to government employees, have either been sold by them to third parties or have been occupied by political groups.

This disclosure was made to the Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works which met at the office of the chief secretary here on Wednesday.

The committee, which was presided over by Senator Tanveer-ul-Haq, decided to get federal government properties vacated with the assistance of Sindh home department and get the names of the occupants of properties displayed on the website.

The committee met to take up complaints that the flats and quarters in federal colonies were still under possession of government employees despite their retirement a long time ago while some employees had sold the properties to a third party.

There were also complaints that most of the residential facilities were in the use of persons linked with political groups.

When the committee asked if an officer could occupy the property after retirement, Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervaiz said officers could use the facility for up to six months after retirement on expiry of which they had to vacate it.

Some of residential units have been sold by employees concerned or occupied by political groups

“Had the Sindh government been approached formally in writing, we certainly would have extended our cooperation,” the secretary said.

The Senate committee directed its housing estate officer to provide all details about government quarters and flats, including the list of retired and in service officials availing residential facilities and outstanding utility bills against them in the next meeting of the committee.

Senator Tanveer said the housing policy for Sindh could not be different from other provinces’.

Complaining about noncooperation of certain officers of the department, the committee chairman said their behaviour had disappointed him.

In this connection, the committee directed Ghulam Hussain Shah and Abid to appear before it in its next meeting.

After the meeting, talking to the media, Mr Haq said applications had been pending for residential facilities since last eight months.

“During our last meeting on May 3 we were informed that widows and families of late government employees had been living in government quarters while the current situation is completely different,” he added.

He agreed that it was the responsibility of the state to provide residential facilities to government employees living in Karachi.

The committee expressed its concern over unpaid utility bills in millions of rupees and directed the officials concerned to write to all institutions including electricity companies to recover utility charges from the residents.

Earlier, the standing committee ordered formation of a sub-committee for arranging quarters for federal employees working in Balochistan when Senator from Balochistan Saeed Mandikhel, who is a member of the committee, pointed out that the federal employees in Balochistan were running from pillar to post to get residential facilities for their families.

The chairman further said the committee had to formulate a clear-cut policy on providing residential facilities.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2018