Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing at the launch event. Image Credit: Press Information Department

Islamabad: Pakistan is set to replace the outdated manual practice with a digital land record system to increase transparency, and curb illegal practices in the housing sector.

The digitalization of land records using MIS and GIS technology opens a new way to secure rights and protect their properties from land grabbers.

Benefits that the modern land record system would offer
• Digital system to ensure transparency and accountability
• Easy accessibility of property rights
• Tenure information
• Lesser land litigation cases
• Land conflict resolution
• Improved taxation and collection mechanism
• Reduction in corrupt practices and land grabbing

Prime Minister Imran Khan who attended the launch event said that digitalised land record system would help address the illegal and haphazard construction issue in the housing sector in urban and rural areas. “Digitisation and cadastral mapping of lands would ensure transparency in land record and transactions,” reduce corruption by eliminating the risks posed by “powerful qabza mafia” (land-grabbing groups) earning money through the illegal practices, the premier said.

He said that common Pakistanis had to face huge problems after their lands were illegally occupied by qabza mafia. Around half of the complaints of overseas Pakistanis were related to land grabbing which the new digital system aims to resolve. Explaining how the old system led to massive land-grabbing issues, he shared that around Rs400 billion worth of land in the capital was either illegally occupied or was unutilised while nearly 1,000 acres of forest land was encroached upon.

The project is one of the key promises Khan made in his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s 2018 manifesto when he vowed to “Digitise all remaining land records and automate processes for property registration.”

The digital system will replace the outdated land record keeping Patwari system. Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore will be the first cities where the digitalization of land record is expected to be completed by November 2021. The project will then be expanded across the country in the next six months.

Naya Pakistan Housing and Develop¬ment Authority (NPHA) Chairman retired Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider said that the digitisation and cadastral mapping of lands with the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) would help secure land record and rights in the country.

The modern system would offer people easy and affordable access to their land records, and also serve as an effective tool for tax collection addressing the tax evasion issue. The online service will offer online mapping, digital cadastral database, allowing people to find plots, prices, verify ownership and transfer land online.