Kakar reiterates commitment to provide houses to all

ISLAMABAD (APP)- Federal Minister for Housing and Works, Rehmatullah Kakar Tuesday reiterated government's commitment that soon every Pakistani family would have his own house. Talking to PTV, the minister said that the government would play the role of advocacy and regulator effectively. The government has earmarked Rs 10 billion as revolving fund for 'Housing for All' plan of PPP-led coalition government to provide shelter to homeless people. Kakar said that the Prime Minister has announced to provide one million housing units to government employees and poor in the country. In this regard Rs. 2 billion have already been allocated in the federal budget for 2008-09, he added. Minister said the government guarantees investment and strengthening the role of government in housing development. Only eligibility certificates issued to the occupants in Karachi during the tenure of previous government do not entitle them to sell the quarters. He assured that no body is going to be evicted as all the occupants were paying the rent. He told that time has come that the public sector should play the role of a facilitator instead of developer as no major housing scheme has been carried out by the government during the last 20 years and the backlog has been constantly increasing, they added. He added that the housing schemes will initially be started in big cities; Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar and later on the scheme will start at district level. He said that the proposed action plan for the provision of housing to the federal government employees should also target the deserving shelterless people and directed the concerned departments to sort out modalities for ensuring the availability of low-cost housing facilities to the needy. He informed that the proposed housing scheme was catering to housing needs of the government employees besides construction of a large number of apartments for the poor and needy sections of the society other than the government servants. Regarding latest political situation in country, he added that the continued process of dialogue between Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif shows that matters are moving in the right direction and problems would be resolved amicably. Policy revised The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Zakat and Usher has revised the policy on visits by Pakistani nationals to Muslim shrines in India, whereby curtailing the time for repeat visit from 38 months to 18 months. The Ministry on Tuesday announced that from now onward the visitors to the Muslim shrines in India would be allowed to re-visit after a period of 18 months instead of 36 months. This policy has been revised in the public interest and is effective immediately, said the Ministry in a news release.

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