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Sindh plan to monitor real estate deals fails

April 08, 2012

KARACHI, April 8: A Sindh government plan to regulate the purchase and rental of real estate through verification of credentials of a buyer or tenant by the National Database Registration Authority and the area police has failed to take off as the notification issued in this regard expired in Dec 2011, leaving the law-enforcers with no power to keep an eye on people living in their respective jurisdictions.

The Sindh government in June, 2011 had banned with immediate effect the purchase and rental of real estate without verification of credentials of buyers or tenants by Nadra. The decision was aimed at registration of tenants and people buying properties mainly in urban areas.

“The thought was very clear behind the move that there should be some kind of regulation to register tenants and those buying properties mainly in mainstream urban areas,” an official citing details of the notification said.“The step was taken after thorough deliberations and [following the] PNS Mehran attack. The proposal was meant to seek the people’s help in tracing those living in the city with evil motives, or maybe even busy planning terror attacks,” he added.

However, he said, the notification was issued for six months and it was not renewed in December 2011. The whole exercise remained suspended for the last three months, he said.

When asked about its effectiveness and implementation between June and December 2011, he conceded that the defined rules were not being followed by a majority of the real estate dealers.

“The ban was imposed initially for six months under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code prohibiting the transfer, lease, sale and rental of any plot, residential house, bungalow and flat to any customers without fulfilling the requirements,” he said. “Unfortunately it was not followed properly by a majority of the dealers. But once imposed permanently, sooner or later it will become a practice and there always remains an authority for the institutions to impose such checks.”

According to that notification, every SHO was bound to take action against violators of the law. It also defined penalties under the relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against people found violating the rules while making deals.

“The violators could have faced action under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the PPC. No doubt, it’s a tough job to keep checks on all such deals across the province, but it was an initiative which would have returned results in the long run,” said the official.

The step to collect data of property buyers or rental also addressed foreign nationals living in different parts of the city.

“In case of foreigners, it was mandatory for the owners to attach a copy of the passport of the individual to whom the place would be rented with a letter of employment from the firm concerned,” said the official citing the text of the notification.