Margalla Hills Judgment to Pakistan in Global Real Estate Ranking; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

17 July 2022

Judgement against Margalla Hills Encroachments

The Islamabad High Court this week held that the Capital Development Authority`s decision allowing construction of buildings and food outlets at the Margalla Hills in violation of the Margalla Hills National Park Management Plan as well as Wild Life Ordinance 1979. “Regrettably, most illegal encroachments on the Margalla Hills have been made by the state institutions/entities like the Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, etc., and the CDA was either complacent or seemed to be helpless,” observes Chief Justice Athar Minallah in his judgment.

A Laudable Judgment against the Margalla Hills Encroachments

Earlier in Jan 11, 2022, Islamabad High Court in a short order had ordered to seal off the Monal Restaurant, situated at Margalla Hills, and ordered taking control of the Margalla Greens Golf Club built on encroached land also declaring illegal the military`s claim to 8,602 acres of Margalla Hills National Park. However, on March 8, the Supreme Court suspended the Jan 11’High court judgment of sealing and taking over possession of the Monal Restaurant. Now the Islamabad High Court declared that it was the duty of the state and its public functionaries to protect the Margalla Hills, its flora and fauna and to restore the damage caused by removing the illegal encroachments.

Pakistan ranks 68th in Real Estate Transparency Ranking

The Global Real Estate Transparency Index Report has just been released which ranks Pakistan at the 68th position in the global real estate transparency index, categorized as low transparency. The country score 3.91 with zero Sustainability Performance and rated poorly specially in Investment Performance. The Report primarily asks countries and cities work to deliver on their climate commitments with increasing building energy performance standards and reporting requirements while green and healthy building certifications become more widespread.

Implications of FATF on Pakistan Real Estate

The Report says France and the top U.S. markets (e.g., New York) head the Sustainability rankings with new regulations establishing limits on embodied carbon in new buildings and minimum requirements for existing buildings (as well as new construction), and the creation of databases to track building-level energy consumption. The UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden round out the top 10 in the Sustainability rankings with a range of ambitious climate transparency initiatives.

NAB Inquiry of Billion Tree Tsunami Project

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started six inquiries and four investigations into alleged corruption in the Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project aimed at implementing the `Green Growth Initiative` in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The program launched by the PTI government to mitigate the impacts of climate change came under scrutiny after the issue was brought up in the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee the apex parliamentary accountability body and a recent letter to the Auditor General of Pakistan by the climate change ministry for its audit.

Spring Plantation 2022 to Housing for government’ employees; Infocus Weekly Briefs

On July 7, NAB submitted before the PAC that it was investigating the grafts allegations pertaining to plantations, including woodlots, enclosure, farm forestry (free distribution of plants) and procurement of seeds, polythene bags and similar equipment. Following the investigation, the antigraft watchdog files reference in the accountability court after the approval of the chairman.

80% Pakistanis Household Accumulation is in Residential Buildings

A new World Bank study says Pakistani households accumulate significant net worth but overwhelmingly in the form of residential buildings, and on average nearly 80% of the wealth accumulated by age 60 to 65 is composed of residential buildings. The Study “Life Cycle Savings in a High-Informality Setting-Evidence from Pakistan” released this week, reveals that households primarily save in real estate and land signals that this is considered a safe investment, relative to other available options.

Conversion of Residential Land into Commercial Areas, Plight and Perils in Karachi

Housing may be a way to store resources for the long run in a way that cannot easily be stolen or appropriated by other family members, observes the study. The study further says the country could also reenact a lack of access to other safe, high return, and trustworthy long-term saving instruments, however low financial literacy, numeracy, and familiarity with formal banking institutions can all create barriers to participation in other forms of saving.

Rain Flood Disasters are continued

Heavy rains and flash floods claimed at least 27 lives in various parts of the country this week with many houses and villages submerged, power supply suspended, standing crops and infrastructure damaged and many remote areas cut off from the rest of the population after the dilapidated roads were either submerged or destroyed. Heavy Rain and flood have made havoc all over Pakistan in the monsoon this year. These above-normal monsoon rains had already killed more than 80 people till last week from June 14, causing flash floods.

Rain Flood Disaster to Sindh Climate Change Policy 2022; Infocus Weekly Briefs

As natural calamities in Pakistan were becoming severe, Ms Rehman drew attention towards the economic losses caused to Pakistan by global warming that stood at 9.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), the highest in the region in terms of percentage of the GDP.

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