ISLAMABAD: UAE construction company Emaar on Friday offered to invest in the Pakistani government’s five-million housing scheme to provide housing for low and middle-income families.
A high-level Emirati delegation met Federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema at his office to discuss the options. “The Emaar officials have expressed their desire to invest in the housing project,” said Raja Afzaal, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing. “We will invite them to do so once all…details of the project are finalized.”
The UAE delegation visited Pakistan under the auspices of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to discuss mutually beneficial projects the countries could work on together. The government’s plans to address the country’s housing shortage have received a positive response from both the public and private investors, though many remain skeptical about the likelihood of success.
“It is a great initiative. The announcement of this project shows this government cares for the poor,” said Ajmal Chan as he stood in a long queue in Islamabad’s Blue Area to submit his application for a house. He works in a steel mill in the industrial area of the capital and earns the equivalent of about $400 a month.
“I have been living in a rented house along with my family — my wife and two children — for the past 20years,” he said. “I never thought of buying my house as I cannot afford it.”
He said that government schemes rarely succeed in achieving their desired results but added: “We trust (Prime Minister Imran) Khan and hope his government will fulfill the promise of giving homes to blue-collar workers on easy installments.”
Nusrat Bibi, who was waiting outside a National Database and Registration Authority office in Islamabad to submit her application said the government should expedite the registration process. “Apna ghar (owning a home) is a dream and hopefully it’ll come true through this project,” she added.
On October 10, Khan announced the project to build five million residential units for low and middle-income groups. The government will accept applications for the homes for the next 60 days. The project is initially being launched in seven cities — Islamabad, Sukkur, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Quetta, Swat and Faisalabad — and in time will be expanded to other areas.