CDA Proposes to Sell Apartments Intended for Low-Income Individuals to Overseas Pakistanis
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to change the name of the Farash Town Apartments project, which was previously intended to provide affordable housing to low and middle-income groups under the vision of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Instead, the CDA plans to sell the 4,000 apartments to wealthy overseas Pakistanis to generate foreign remittances. The project was launched in collaboration with the Naya Pakistan Development Housing Authority (NPDHA) in April 2021 with the goal of offering affordable housing to those with limited income in the country.
In addition to this, 400 apartments were specifically allocated for residents of ‘Kachi Abadis.’ The original plan was for 2,000 apartments to be provided to low or middle-income individuals through the Naya Pakistan Development Housing Authority (NPDHA), with 1,600 apartments designated for sale in the open market by the CDA.
A Complete Switch of Plan
It is common for governments to change the names of development schemes when there is a transition from one political party to another. However, it is rare for the entire concept and purpose of a project to be altered. In the case mentioned, the civic authority plans to sell the apartments to overseas Pakistanis at market rates instead of providing them to the marginalized segment of society, which was the original purpose of the project.
Purchase in USD
As per an advertisement published in National newspapers, the CDA is now offering overseas Pakistanis an opportunity to purchase apartments, but only in US dollars. The project has been renamed as Nilore Overseas Residencia Phase-I. The two-bedroom apartments will be sold to overseas Pakistanis under a flexible payment plan, with special incentives offered for lump-sum payments.
A senior CDA official stated that this decision was taken on the directions of the federal government to increase the country’s foreign reserves by selling these apartments to overseas Pakistanis. According to sources, several options were considered under the strict direction of the federal government to launch a scheme for overseas Pakistanis, and ultimately, this decision was made.
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An Anti-Lower- and Middle-Class Project
Islamabad’s President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and former Special Assistant of Prime Minister on CDA Affairs, Ali Nawaz Awan, criticized the decision as being anti-lower and middle class. He stated that the government had initiated several projects across the country to provide housing facilities to the poor in a dignified manner, but this government had stopped all of them out of political enmity. He predicted that overseas Pakistanis would not invest in the project as they support Imran Khan, and would prefer to see the social upliftment of the country’s poor people. He accused the government of exploiting marginalized segments of society with its policies.
It was reported that after the removal of former Prime Minister, Imran Khan from office, CDA revised the Project Concept-I (PC-I) of the Farash Town Apartments project in August 2022. The scope of the project was changed from providing affordable living facilities for low-income groups to constructing high-end apartments for potential buyers at market rates.
The development work at the project site is being carried out by the Frontier Works Organization, and it is expected that a considerable number of apartments will be ready for possession by July of this year.