KARACHI: The federal government has decided that the legal residents of federal residential colonies in Karachi will not be ousted from their homes or flats. The residents mostly comprise families or widows of government employees. However, the occupants who are illegally living in the houses or flats will be immediately asked to leave. To get the illegally occupied houses and flats vacated, Sindh's housing and works department, district administration and law enforcement agencies will conduct a major operation against the occupants.
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"A standing committee has undertaken a detailed analysis of the federal residential colonies in some parts of Karachi to understand the problems faced by their residents," said Housing and Works Department Standing Committee Chairperson Senator Maulana Tanveerul Haq Thanvi, while talking to Express News. He said that the colonies included Federal Capital Area, Jamshed Quarters, Martin Quarters, Federal Lodges Quarters, Garden and many others. He added that the committee's recently held session in Karachi examined the problems faced by residents regarding the allotment of plots, houses and flats.
Senator Thanvi said that the committee had requested the housing and works ministry not to ask the residents, who have been residing in their legally allotted houses, to vacate it. He added that the estate office would look into the matter of flexibility in the rents of retired government personnel and their widows. The committee also requested the ministry to first develop an alternative housing scheme for them if they were to evict the legally residing residents from their houses and flats, they should. Housing and Works Minister Akram Khan Durrani told the committee that there were no plans to evict legal occupants.
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Senator Thanvi said that there are plans in place to improve the water, gas and provide basic amenities and repairs in the colonies. Discussions are being held in this regard with the ministry, Pakistan public works department and the district governments, he said.
He said that he will be asking the prime minister to announce a package for this initiative.
He disclosed that Karachi Estate Office Incharge Usman Chipa had been suspended by the ministry as he failed to follow up on the committee's directives.
The senator told Express News that the Additional Estate Officer Muhammad Bashir has been appointed in place of Chipa.
Sources in the ministry for housing and works told Express News that an organised mafia is involved in the allotment and transaction process of the federal residential colonies in Karachi. Their lists have already been prepared and, with the help of the ministry and security institutions, strict action will be taken against the persons involved with the mafia.
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According to sources, a major operation, comprising the ministry and security forces, will be conducted against the mafia, which has illegally occupied the flats and houses in the colonies. The senate standing committee will also take political leadership into confidence.
Bashir told Express News that the legal occupants of the housing colonies would not be evicted. He added that there would not be any leniency towards the illegal occupants. " The Sindh government will initiate action as soon as it receives the orders from the federal government," he said, adding that the process of allotment of government houses and flats in Karachi has been halted.
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He said that the estate office allots houses and flats to government employees according to the law, by drafting and sending a summary to the ministry of housing and works. The ministry approves the list after which the government employee is placed in a category and the house is allotted to them, according to their grade number. He added that Durrani had ordered the transfer of Karachi's estate office staff, along with the former estate officer on charges of corruption during his visit to the city a few months ago. Powers were then taken from the Karachi estate officer and given to the Islamabad estate officer.
Karachi's residential colonies have 8,000 residents, currently residing in flats and houses, which are divided in the B, C, D, E, F, G and H categories. According to sources, 60% of these houses and flats are occupied by serving government employees, 30% by retired employees, while the remaining 10% are allegedly occupied illegally.