Of scams in real estate

The announcement by Minister for Overseas Pakistanis to facilitate non-resident Pakistanis by withdrawing levy of surcharge on their remittances to the country is late but welcome. However the Pakistan government needs to explain why they have allowed the land mafia and property-dealing tricksters to defraud the hapless overseas Pakistanis of billions of rupees through housing schemes. In one such scheme, billions were minted by a very notorious real estate developer who used to be close to Musharraf in the previous government and is now getting favours from the present government too. It is sad that credible institutions have allowed their brands to be misused in this case in what was supposed to be an allotment through ballot. In reality, though, it turned out to be a scam when everybody who applied, without any exception, was declared successful. Overseas Pakistanis contributed the largest chunk of foreign exchange remitted to Pakistan, yet even as they are being systematically defrauded by tricksters like this, the state, judiciary and our parliament stand by as silent spectators, thereby acting as abettors to this crime. -R. CHAUDHRY, Texas, USA, via e-mail, February 1.

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