Senate Standing Committee on Housing & Works Declared PHA ‘illegal & unconstitutional body’
Islamabad (April 26, 2011): Recommends investigation into the works of the housing regulator Taking strong notice of 800 houses allotted illegally to “nonentitled people”, the committee directed to get all these houses evacuated
The Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works on Tuesday declared Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) an “illegal and unconstitutional body“. The meeting which took place in the Senate observed that the authority has been constituted under a resolution and not through an act of parliament.
The two-member committee headed by Senator Saeeda Iqbal took notice of the flaws that persist in the authority and also raised questions on its legal status.
PHA was constituted through a resolution some 11 years back and was never made constitutional through the parliament.
“This body is absolutely illegal and has been cheating the public for the last 11 years with billions of rupees having been lost,“ said Senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who is also a constitutional expert.
A special committee of the Senate Standing Committee that it would compile and present the report to the main committee of the housing ministry and recommend that the body be checked either by the parliament, court or any investigating agency.
It also directed the ministry of housing and works and Ministry of Law to undertake measures to address the confusion over the legal status of this body. So far, it is neither an autonomous body nor an attached department of the housing ministry, it was observed. Senator Shah said all activities of the authority were illegal and the work done by its employees also held no legal status. “I will also take up the matter in the next session of the Senate to decide. It is necessary to take measures to remove public concerns pertaining to the property loss,“ said Shah. He added that the public was being cheated and activities of the authority should immediately be stopped.
The committee was also told that out of a total of 127 employees of PHA, 27 are on deputation, 24 on contract and 76 on daily wages. Moreover, taking strong notice of 800 houses allotted illegally to “non-entitled people“ in Islamabad, the committee directed the State Office to get all these houses evacuated within a period of one month. The panel further observed that 40 seminaries have also been constructed illegally in the federal capital and another 40 houses were being used illegally as private clinics.
The PHA officials briefed the panel on the PHA Kuri Road Project. They said that the scheme was initially launched for constructing houses for 1250 senior government officials of grade 17 to 22. They admitted that the cost of the project was really high and most of the officials were reluctant to invest due to the amount of money involved.
They further said that the authority had prepared a proposal of giving constructed structures to the employees instead of finished houses.
They believed that this would reduce the cost up to 35 per cent. There was also a proposal that instead of giving houses to the officials, plots should be given after development.
Besides, they said that another proposal has also been sent to prime minister to provide a special grant for the development of the infrastructure to further reduce the cost of the project.
Furthermore, the panel was informed that PHA has given Rs440 million to Capital Development Authority (CDA) for acquiring of land for the said project. In return, CDA has also handed over 101 acres of land to the PHA for this project.