PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has issued a stay order stopping the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) from cancelling the allotment of houses in the recently-launched housing scheme in Peshawar over the non-payment of dues.
A bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Syed Mohammad Attique Shah issued the order while hearing a petition filed by the All Allottees Association of the Peshawar Residencia through its president, Shakib Rasool, for multiple reliefs from the court, including orders for the revision of the prices of housing units in the scheme.
It fixed Oct 22 for the next hearing into the case asking additional advocate general Mujahid Ali Khan to assist the court on the points raised by the petitioner.
Court asks additional advocate general to assist it on petition of allottees
Zahidullah Zahid and Taimur Khan, lawyers for the petitioner, sought a stay order against possible action against allottees saying the PHA has warned that if the down payment isn’t made by Oct 15, the offer of allotment of a housing unit will stand automatically cancelled and the unit will be offered to the person on waiting list.
They said both housing unit prices and installment payment schedule should be revised to benefit low-income groups.
The counsel said if the PHA didn’t reduce prices, the allottees should be given the right to build houses according to their will and financial position and that the PHA should only allot plots to them at the current market rate.
The respondents in the petition include the federal government through the housing secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through the PHA secretary, and PHA director general and director (land and estate).
The counsel said his clients had applied for the Peshawar Residencia scheme hoping to get own houses at reasonable prices as the prime minister had promised the construction of 0.5 million houses for low-income groups in the country.
They said the Peshawar Residencia was launched with a special quota for government employees along with other categories and it was presumed that the PHA has designed the payment schedule for low-income groups and government employees.
The counsel said grey structure housing units had been allotted in Surazai area under four categories, while the payment schedule had been issued with 10 per cent down payment and the remaining payment in 12 equal quarterly installments or 36 monthly installments.
They said the rates fixed by the PHA for grey structure housing units were exorbitant and beyond the financial position of allottees.
The lawyers contended that the housing authority had promised that only actual cost of the grey structure would be charged, but instead, it had fixed unjustified rates for these structures.
They said in the current tough circumstances, the housing unit allottees would be left with no option but to surrender their right and wish to have having own houses.
The counsel said the PHA Peshawar Residentia was a government scheme meant to benefit the low-income groups, including government employees, on priority basis but it seemed to benefit only the elite class, investors and realtors.
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2020