Affordable Housing to New FATF Regulations on Real Estate; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

30 January 2022

PM Imran Khan on Affordable Housing & Construction

Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government is facilitating construction of affordable housing units for the salaried and low-income groups through provision of subsidies and waiver of interest rates on house financing. He said that while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Officers’ Residencia. The project was conceived in 2008 on 90 acres of land provided by the Capital Development Authority, Islamabad. With the total cost of Rs6.5 billion, the project launched for the federal government employees comprises 588 grey-structure housing units in three categories besides 88 commercial units and community centre.

Mr Khan said the construction industry is the driving force of the country’s economy. When it thrived, about 30 more allied industries would also make progress, adding that Pakistan’s construction industry boomed with record cement and steel sales during the last two years. He also said due to boom in the construction industry about 40 to 60% increase was witnessed in the income of labour class.

New FBR’ Regulations on Real Estate to meet FATF’ Conditions

Implications of FATF on Pakistan Real Estate

The Federal Bureau of Revenue has imposed new restrictions on property dealers, realtors and everyone else working in the real estate sector to meet conditions set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FBR issued a notification this week spelling out new restrictions which ban any business deal with people convicted for crimes. The executives working at real estate firms will also face scrutiny and unregistered agents will not be able to register or transfer properties.

The new regulations say that a convicted person cannot be given any position at Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions(DNFBP) and real estate developers and agents that carry out transactions with a customer involving the buying or selling of real estate top the list of DNFBPs.

Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project, Scrapped and Challenged

Ravi Riverfront City is a Commercial Greed or Ecological Deception

The Lahore High Court scrapped the much-celebrated Ravi Riv­er­front Urban Develop­ment Project of the government by declaring several provisions of the Ravi Urban Development Authority Act 2020 unconstitutional. Announcing a reserved judgment on multiple petitions, Justice Shahid Karim also declared the acquisition of agricultural land for the project unconstitutional and in violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

The apex court directed the Ravi Urban Development Authority to return a loan of Rs 5 billion to the Punjab government within 2 months & ruled that the authority had failed to comply with the laws & initiated the project without a master plan. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted that the Punjab government would moves apex court against verdict and approach the Supreme Court to contest the case. In a video message he said “The project is not about establishing housing societies, but creating a new planned city after Islamabad.”

Judiciary bans Tree Cutting in Murree

The Lahore High Court restrained cutting of trees and razing of hills in Murree without the specific approval of the competent authorities. The directions were issued by a single bench consisting of Justice Jawad Hassan who had taken up a petition moved by an environmentalist.

The petition highlighted the need for enacting a specific legislation for protecting trees and areas around the Murree tourist resort. The counsel argued that Murree as well as areas of Kahuta and Kotli Sattian had been declared national park areas but were being allegedly destroyed through chopping of trees and other anti-environmental activities.

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