The government wants to make housing affordable to all.
“We want the poor people to be able to buy houses too,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing an international housing conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
“Only the elite class can buy houses in Pakistan. It is still ‘elite ka Pakistan’,” he remarked. “You have private hospitals and English-medium schools.” We want to change the system. No society can progress until its poor population has been uplifted.
“How many poor people can afford a house in Islamabad?” We have many katchi abadis (informal settlements) but they have no amenities. The previous governments just raised a wall around these settlements so that no one can see them. “We are making a plan to regularise these informal settlements,” he added.
“The plan to build five million houses in five years is challenging but not impossible.” On October 10, 2018 PM Khan had launched the ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Project’. The scheme was a part of the PTI’s election manifesto, which promised five million houses for the poor. The work on the housing scheme will start next month, he said.
Imran Khan said that the government is not going to build the houses. “We are just facilitating the process.” He remarked that the government has gotten a positive response from companies in China and Malaysia for the project. “The World Bank has said that they will help us too.”
He remarked that the PTI government has taken the initiative to let Pakistan expand vertically. “Cities have been expanding horizontally and look how that turned out. Our agriculture land was destroyed.” We want Pakistan to rise now, he said.
There is so much land in Pakistan. We have recovered land worth Rs500 billion from the land mafia, he said. “We decided that we won’t demolish the houses of the poor people just those which were usurped.”
The government asked different departments about their dead capital [land allotted to them by the government]. “We found out that many departments hid their land from us.” The cabinet has decided to make a criminal offence for people to hide their land now.