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Senator criticises acquisition of land for govt housing society

ISLAMABAD: Senator Kalsoom Parveen on Thursday criticised the government decision to vacate land near Park Road to develop a housing society for lawyers, judges and bureaucrats.

During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works, Senator Parveen announced that she would bring affected people – those whose land is acquired for the development – to the next committee meeting.

She told the committee that although the government can vacate land and remove local residents for dams, airports and the like, “they should not be removed for a housing society project for lawyers and judges”.

She added: “Moreover, rather than giving them the market rate for the land, they are being told they will get the four decades old government rate.”

Villages on outskirts of capital being vacated for housing society for lawyers, judges

Senator Parveen had raised the forcible land acquisition in Mauza Tamma and Mohriyan on Sept 19, 2018, after which the matter was sent to the standing committee.

On Thursday she told the committee that the Ministry of Housing and Works had no right to vacate the land by force.

“How can you remove poor people from their homes to build houses for those who can afford to buy expensive residences,” she asked, before suggesting that the housing and works minister, Islamabad chief and deputy commissioners and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) should be called to the next committee meeting to discuss the issue.

However, a Housing and Works representative told the committee that the matter is sub judice and so it would be better to wait for a court decision, which will be announced in a week.

Committee chair Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Mohammad Shahi said the committee could not interfere in a sub judice matter and suggested it be discussed at the next meeting, by which time the court will have announced its decision.

After the meeting, Senator Parveen told Dawn it was unfortunate that the matter was being delayed using the cover of the court.

“Cases heard in court are discussed everywhere, so why can we not discuss them? The residents of both villagers have been living there for 400 years, but now the government has been trying to vacate the land for a housing society where lawyers and judges will reside,” she said.

To her understanding, she added, the Ministry of Housing and Works can only develop societies for government servants. She said it was going beyond its limits to establish a housing society for lawyers.

“I have been told that Prime Minister Imran Khan directed for a housing society for lawyers and judges to be made, but no one is ready to show me a written directive from the premier. I assume that the project is being made using Imran Khan’s name,” she said.

Senator Parveen added that the residents of the villagers have been told they will be compensated based on rates from 40 years ago.

Even if an award of Rs1.5 million per kanal is announced, it will be 10 times below the market rate, she said.

She added that she feared the situation would lead to a law and order situation, and advised the government to avoid it.

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