A road interchange in Karachi -09
A road interchange in Karachi. (For illustrative purposes only) Image Credit: Courtesy Daily Times

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday was informed that 32 federal government-owned abandoned properties worth billions of rupees had been identified in major cities for their onward auction to generate revenue and spend it on public welfare.

The prime minister was chairing a meeting to discuss progress on the productive utilization of the federal government's unused properties wherein secretary privatisation said the properties had been identified in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi with their estimated value in billions of rupees.

Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Privatisation Minister Mohammed Mian Soomro, Special Assistants to Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari and Nadeem Afzal Chan, federal secretaries of the ministries concerned and other senior officers also attended the meeting, a Prime Minister Office press release said.

The secretary privatisation told the meeting that out of 32 identified properties 27 were available and the process for recovery from illegal occupation and completion of ownership documents of rest five properties was in progress.

The prime minister was told that the investors and overseas Pakistanis had shown keen interest in the said properties at an expo held in Dubai during the current month. He said after fulfilling all formalities, the schedule for their auction would be finalized and a local and international advertisement campaign would be launched in first week of January.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction on the process and said the utilisation of abandoned properties and the utilisation of the generated revenue for public welfare was vital component of government's policies. He said the abandoned properties located on key locations in major cities would be utilised for construction of low cost houses, schools and hospitals besides spending the revenue generated from their auction for provision of better amenities.

The prime minister also instructed the authorities concerned to share the information regarding the abandoned properties with Naya Pakistan Housing Authority so that such land could be utilized for construction of low cost housing units. He also directed all the ministries to amend their rules to ensure the utilization of the abandoned properties for public welfare and furnish report to cabinet within a week for early completion of the process. He also instructed the government to accomplish the recovery of the government land from illegal occupation and complete the documentation of their ownership in coordination with the provincial governments. Chairman of Naya Pakistan Housing Authority apprised the prime minister about the progress on the construction of low cost housing units for poor.

The prime minister said the provision of low-cost and well equipped houses to the low-income group particularly the residents of the slums was among government's priorities. He said the construction of the high rise buildings in slums located in different cities would not only resolve the housing problems of the slum dwellers but also enable the government to spend revenue to be generated from the construction of commercial plazas for building low-cost houses for the poor.