PM orders probe into Nilore Heights project in Islamabad

Published May 25, 2023
In this file 2022 photo, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet.—DawnNewsTV/File
In this file 2022 photo, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet.—DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered an inquiry against the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for launching the Nilore Heights project for overseas Pakistanis without removing lacunas.

The CDA launched the said housing scheme in collaboration with Naya Pakistan Housing Development Authority (NPHDA) in 2021. The civic agency allocated its own land and funds for the said project.

Later on, the CDA decided to sell out 2,000 apartments exclusively to overseas Pakistanis. However, before the said move, the NPHDA had already allotted a number of apartments to the lower-income segments of society.

Subsequently, when the CDA decided to sell about 2,000 apartments exclusively to expatriates, the incumbent government provided full backing to the civic body to boost its foreign exchange reserves. A two-bed apartment was to be sold at a cost of $30,000.

Orders Ahad Cheema to form inquiry committee

But, the project faced a setback when a case was filed in the Islamabad High Court against CDA’s planned balloting to sell these flats to overseas Pakistanis. This litigation forced the CDA to postpone the balloting which was slated to be held on May 16.

According to sources, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed displeasure over CDA’s failure to remove lacunas before launching the said project for overseas Pakistanis. The sources said that the premier asked why was this project launched when the NPHDA had already allotted flats to locals.

Sources said that CDA Chairman Noorul Amin Mengal said the aforementioned decisions were made before he joined the civic body as its chief.

PM Sharif said that if the new chairman was not aware of these developments then it was the job of other officers to inform him about this project. He also ordered an inquiry and directed his aide Ahad Cheema to form an inquiry committee in this regard.

Sources said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who was also present at the meeting, expressed concerns regarding the CDA.

On the other hand, the said housing project for overseas Pakistanis received an overwhelming response, as around 7,000 applications had been submitted by the expatriates against 2,000 apartments in the first phase of the project.

The balloting was supposed to be held on May 16 but it could not take place because of litigation.

In the first phase of the project, the CDA decided to sell 2,000 apartments while in the second phase, which will be built soon, the civic agency will have around 2400 apartments for sale.

In 2021, the project was initially named ‘Farash Town’ apartment scheme. The name of the scheme was changed to Nilore Heights last year. Similarly, the CDA had decided to approach the federal government to disassociate the NPHDA from this project as it had not shared the cost of the project with the CDA.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023

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