Imran pledges housing quota for terror-hit Hazara families

Updated April 22, 2019


QUETTA: A member of the Hazara community greets Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday.—PPI
QUETTA: A member of the Hazara community greets Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday.—PPI

QUETTA: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced five per cent quota in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme for those families of Shia Hazara community who had lost their loved ones in terrorist attacks.

He made this announcement during a meeting with relatives of the victims of the Hazarganji suicide attack that left 22 people dead, including eight of the Hazara community, on April 12.

The prime minister was in the city on a brief visit to meet suicide attack victims’ families and attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the housing scheme.

He expressed his sorrow over the tragedy, offered condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls.

Speaking on the occasion, he called for joint efforts to foil the enemy’s nefarious designs for stirring chaos in the country.

He said implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism was inevitable and the government was determined to eliminate terrorism and extremism.

110,000 houses to be built in Quetta and Gwadar, including 54,000 for fishermen

Mr Khan said providing security to citizens was a responsibility of the federal and the provincial governments and they would accomplish this task. The prime minister said the day was not far when people would live in a peaceful atmosphere.

He said anti-state elements wanted to create division among the people and called for joint efforts to foil their designs.

He said personnel of the Pakistan Army, police and Frontier Constabulary as well as the general public, had rendered immense sacrifices and helped in impro­ving security situation.

He assured the affected families that the government stood by them and perpetrators of the Hazarganji attack would be brought to justice. No laxity would be tolerated in maintenance of peace, he added.

Housing scheme

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, the prime minister said the political leaders who had plundered the country during the last decade and burdened Pakistan with excessive debts would be taken to task.

“We will get them punished... so that they serve as a deterrent for those contesting elections in future,” he remarked.

The ceremony, held at the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Manage­ment Sciences, was attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Governor Amanullah Yasinzai, Federal Minister for Housing Tariq Bashir Cheema, federal and provincial cabinet members and senior government officials. A sizeable number of students were in attendance as well.

The prime minister unveiled the plaques about construction of 110,000 houses in Quetta and Gwadar, including 54,000 units for fishermen.

During the first phase of the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, 135,000 units would be built across the country, he said, adding that 25,000 apartments would be built in Islamabad for federal government employees.

He said the Sharif family and Asif Zardari wanted to remove the government because they were afraid of jail as “new facts” (about their corruption) were being unearthed with each passing day. He said even enemies did not do what the Sharif and Zardari families had done to the country.

“For the first time in 70 years ‘big dacoits were arrested and sent behind bars,” the prime minister said. Previously only poor people were sent to jail. “In Musharraf government, I myself was imprisoned and found only poor people in the prison,” Mr Khan said.

He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman wanted to wind up the whole system after facing defeat in the general elections last year.

He said the project to build five million houses was aimed at realising the dream of those people who could not afford to build their houses, particularly the salaried and other low-income groups. “Despite being a basic need, owning a house has become more difficult with the skyrocketing real estate prices.”

Unfortunately, under the existing banking system, loans were given only to the elite, the PM said, adding that the government was preparing laws to extend loans to the low income group.

Imran Khan said currently only 0.2 per cent people in Pakistan availed housing finance against 80-90pc in Europe, 30pc in Malaysia and 10pc in India.

He said foreign companies were interested in investing in the housing project. If they did so, 40 other industries would benefit and thus job opportunities would be created.

He advised unemployed youth to “launch construction firms” instead of waiting for government jobs and said opportunities would be created for the youth to enable then to form construction companies to benefit from “the coming housing boom”.

He directed the Balochistan chief minister to design a master plan for Quetta and allow vertical construction to discourage the horizontal spread of the city.

The prime minister urged the youth to study the principles of the Madina state which had conquered two super powers of that time despite being far smaller in size and resources.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019