Imran Khan housing
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a the ground breaking ceremony in Islamabad for the construction of 20,000 housing units Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday performed the ground-breaking of Pak Rs100 billion housing projects for the construction of 20,000 housing units for low income groups and salaried people in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Quetta.

Among the projects being initiated under the present government’s flagship Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, six pertained to the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA), whereas one would be executed by the Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation (PHAF).

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran said the government had undertaken huge efforts for the start of constructing five million houses in the country as the initiative often drew criticism from the political opponents. But now after the breakthrough and path-finding, the journey had started towards realisation of that initiative.

The prime minister also expressed his pleasure over the decision of Lahore High Court regarding the foreclosure laws, and said the LHC judgement would bring a revolution in the housing sector through increased financing by the banks.

In the West, he said, bank loaning facility was being extended for the construction of residential houses at affordable rates. The percentage of mortgage facility for housing in Pakistan stood at mere 0.2% as against 80% in the United States and the United Kingdom, 30% in Malaysia and 12% in India.

The prime minister said as inflation had started easing out, it would also bring down the interest rates. “All the figures show that inflation is going down, and the interest rates will also gown down,” he added.

He said in line with the government’s vision of ease of doing business, all impediments in the way of the construction industry had been removed, and that was why the FGEFH was made an authority through legislation.

The prime minister said as the government employees, particularly the class four employees and police personnel, could not construct their own houses with salaries, the government could arrange bank financing for them.

He said attention was never paid to such issues in the past. Affordable housing would target those people and would also benefit 40 industries allied with the construction sector, creating job opportunities and pushing economic growth.

The prime minister recalled that before coming to power, he was shocked by reading the news about a government employee, who committed suicide so that his house was allotted to his son after his death, according to the government rules.

He said the provision of basic facilities, including the housing facility, to the people particularly the poor ones was responsibility of the state.

The prime minister said as he had himself seen people sleeping at pavements in Lahore, he used to think that if he ever got power he would do something for such people, adding, that after coming to power he started the establishment of shelters for homeless people.

So far, the number of such shelters had reached 160 where the poor people were served free food with the cooperation of philanthropists, he added.