Criminals using govt flats as safe haven: Panel

Senate body says over 51% residences for federal govt employees in Karachi are illegally occupied.

Our Correspondent March 18, 2014
Security personnel collect evidence at the site of a bomb blast in a flat in Karachi on July 20, 2013. PHOTO: AFP


A Senate panel on housing and works on Monday lifted the lid on the rampant misuse of government-owned residential quarters and flats and their illegal occupation by an assortment of criminals and land mafia members.

The Senate’s standing committee claimed that these dwellings had “become hatcheries of criminal activities” and that law enforcement agencies had failed to take action against them.

“More than 51% flats and houses for federal government employees in the city are illegally occupied. Not only the relatives of retired employees, but also land mafia and criminals, who have full backing of influential people, have occupied the flats and land allotted in residential schemes,” said Barrister Usman Ibrahim, the junior minister for housing and works.

He was speaking to media after a meeting chaired by Awami National Party’s (ANP) Senator Shahi Syed.  “We have knocked the doors of the superior judiciary and despite our repeat requests the police and Rangers have failed to get the properties vacated,” he said. According to the minister of state, some criminals arrested by police had disclosed they used government flats as a safe haven for their heinous crimes.

During the meeting, officials of housing and works department informed that 7,782 flats were built for federal government employees out of which 51% (3,350 flats) were illegally occupied.

“For federal government employees, the Sindh government allotted 60 acre land, which is now under the control of land mafia,” he said. Some two decades ago, he said, the federal government had launched many residential schemes, which could not be developed due to encroachments.

Talking about the illegal occupants, Ibrahim said many of the residences were occupied by the third and fourth generation of retired employees, who were originally allotted the place. “A few of them retired about 35 years back, but their families are unwilling to leave the place,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2014.


mathematician | 7 years ago | Reply

51% of 7782 flats is 3969 not 3350.

Mohammad Anis | 7 years ago | Reply

Its shameful to read. These properties be vacated with force immediately.

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