Legislation yet to be put forward for Naya Pakistan Housing Authority

Updated March 12, 2019

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Under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme five million houses would be built for underprivileged classes during the next five years. — Reuters/File
Under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme five million houses would be built for underprivileged classes during the next five years. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Monday that the government has yet to put forward legislation for establishing the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority.

According to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement, under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme five million houses would be built for underprivileged classes during the next five years.

However, so far, the necessary legislation for setting up a designated housing authority has not been done.

During the meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Housing and Works with MNA Engineer Mohammad Najeeb Haro in the chair, Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Chairman Task Force for Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, briefed the lawmakers.

He said private people had offered 570,000 kanals in various parts of the country for the project.

NA committee informed that 570,000 kanals private land is available for project in different parts of country

The chairman, however, said the owners had not offered their land for free rather had informed the government that 570,000 kanals was available for the project.

Mr Rizvi said in addition to this land, 11,000 acres of the Evacuee Trust Property Board was also available which could be used for the housing project. He said currently there was a need for 700,000 new houses and if backlog was added the figure could cross 1.2 million.

The committee members decided that a comprehensive briefing on the project would be taken from Mr Rizvi at the next meeting.

The Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works will also get a briefing on the project on Tuesday.

Earlier, the NA committee discussed the shortage of housing units for government officials in Islamabad as all the existing 17,496 houses were allotted while 25,245 people were on the waiting list. Besides, 500,000 government employees have not applied for the facility yet.

Secretary Ministry of Housing Dr Imran Zeb Khan told the committee that because of a ban imposed by the federal government in 1995 on construction of new state-owned houses, the ministry could not build any house to tackle the situation.

The committee recommended that the ban should be lifted immediately and new houses should be constructed to accommodate a maximum number of government officials.

The committee also directed the ministry to take up the issue with the federal government for lifting the ban.

The committee also discussed the issue of Gulshan-i-Jinnah Lodges as the ministry recently issued eviction notices to government officials living there.

The secretary said the notices were served on the directives of courts and according to existing rules the allottees could live there up to nine months.

He, however, said the ministry had requested the ministry of law for filing an intra-court appeal.

Besides others, MNAs Iqbal Mohammad Ali Khan, Malik Anwar, Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar, Nafeesa Khattak, Wajiha Akram and Munir Khan Orakzai attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2019