Dubai: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has a new vision for the country’s urban development. The premier took to Twitter on Saturday to share his plans.
Khan posted: “My vision for our future cities: to allow buildings to rise vertically and allow for more green spaces as Pak is one of the most environmentally-threatened countries. Avoiding large sprawling built-up areas will also allow easier provision of amenities to our urban dwellers.”
In a follow-up tweet, Khan highlighted the issue of illegal housing societies in Pakistan, abusing already-scarce natural resources.
My vision for our future cities: to allow buildings to rise vertically and allow for more green spaces as Pak is one of the most environmentally-threatened countries. Avoiding large sprawling built-up areas will also allow easier provision of amenities to our urban dwellers.
Pakistan has dozens of building that stand over 100 metres. The tallest, the 145.3-metre (477 feet) Bakht Tower in Karachi, was completed in 2018. Karachi also saw the Mega G4 Tower (118 metres), the country's first certified "green" building, completed in 2016.
Protecting arable land
@ImranKhanPTI tweeted: “Our arable land is being eaten up by housing societies and has grave consequences for our food security in the future. Also, we are in the process of making laws to allow buildings, built to international safety standards, to go as high as in other cities across the world.”
Pakistani tweeple welcomed Khan’s ideas and said it was a much needed step in the right direction.
@ErbazHassan tweeted: “Being a native of a well-cultivated region, I know the importance of such huge steps. Since my childhood I have seen fertile lands getting occupied by buildings and that tortures my soul more than anything. May Allah be helpful in all good deeds.”
According to 2018 report by a Pakistani newspaper, Pakistan Today: “More than 150 housing society are located in and around Islamabad, with the majority of them located around Kashmir Highway and Islamabad International Airport. Except for a few well-reputed societies, including DHA, Bahria Town and Naval Anchorage, none of them has a no-objection certificate (NOC) issued to them by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
"Despite the fact that these societies lack proper accreditation, the civic agency has been negligent in regulating these societies and they continue to function without proper facilities such as schools, parks and graveyards.”
“...during the scrutiny of two housing societies located in Zone-2 of Islamabad, it came to the attention of the authorities that the owners of those societies had submitted fake documents of land ownership and were selling plots without any development. Despite calls of stringent steps taken by the Building Control Section, the administration of 54 other housing societies submitted fake affidavits to CDA, promising to get their residential and commercial constructions approved by the civic agency. It had been estimated that this step would not only generate revenue of Rs2 billion for the agency but would also help regulate the construction and infrastructure of societies.”
Tweep @D_VoiceOfTruth replied to Khan’s tweet: “Very good decision. The property dealers are busy in converting agricultural land into housing schemes which will cause food shortage in future.”
Twitter user @AhmedHahat was pleased that Khan was also concerned about the environment along with urban development. The tweep wrote: “Nice vision dear PM... We should think environmental changes... healthy environment make whole nation healthy.”
However, some tweeps like @ahsan366 said this might affect the natural beauty of the country. He tweeted: “We won’t be able to see the beautiful Margalla hills then! Better to build skyscrapers away from beautiful natural spots.”
And, @Muhamma74584014 added: “It’s really a good decision by the government, [we] need to save the agriculture and reserved forest lands in urban areas. We must go for high rise building but not at the cost [of places of] historical importance and the beauty of any city.”
Some highlighted the need to ensure safety while designing high-rise buildings since many parts of Paksitan are prone to earthquakes. @MarwaHayat2 tweeted: “Khan sahab also consider the fact that Pakistan is more prone to earthquakes. Vertical buildings can be quite risky too.”
Many called Khan the right visionary leader whose priorities were set right.
Tweep @WeLove__IK wrote: “Once a Captain always a Captain...”
And, @SaqibDudra posted: “I truly feel that I am the luckiest person because I am Pakistani and this person is my PM. A politician thinks of the next election, a statesman thinks of the next generation, PM saved millions of lives by his action in last two-three days. He deserves a NOBEL PRIZE for PEACE.”
And referring to the ongoing India-Pakistan conflict, @iihtishamm tweeted: “Inshallah, together we will build Naya Pakistan, I am so glad that your focus is on Pakistan’s development and you didn’t give any importance to the war by tweeting about it.”