Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has launched a low-cost
housing scheme in Islamabad Monday last aimed at providing shelter to
the lower income group of the government employees in the grade 1 to 16.
It is certainly a highly commendable step on the part
of the present government to take care of the low-paid government
employees who can only dream of owning a house of their own especially
in the face of sky rocketing price of the real estate and steeply
eroding purchase power due to mounting inflationary pressures in the
The government employees under this scheme can own a
flat of their own at an affordable price to be paid in easy
installments. These installments according to initial plan would be
matching to the house rent paid by the government.
This pilot project, having some 1,000 flats in the
first phase will be developed with in 12 months followed by similar
projects which are to be developed by the Federal Government in the four
provincial capitals including Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar.
The Provincial Governments have also been advised by
the federal government to chalk out such low cost housing scheme for the
low paid employees.
"It has been our cherished goal to provide
housing to all the government employees, especially those in the lower
grades", the Prime Minister declared in a firm tone at the
Besides meeting President of Azerbaijan who visited
Pakistan last week, the Prime Minister paid a day-long visit to
Faisalabad and addressed a news conference. He presided over an ECC
meeting which took the laudable decision allowing free movement of wheat
in the country. In a Cabinet meeting, the premier has approved the draft
of law reforms aimed at providing swift justice to the masses and save
them from police highhandedness. Emphasizing the need to project
Pakistan in its true light, in keeping with its true history, culture,
values and tradition, the Prime Minister constituted a ministerial
committee to consider and evolve a strategy to achieve this objective.
He also presided over a meeting of ruling PML leaders. Later, he visited
some barani fed areas around Islamabad to assess the wheat crop and
enquire from farmers their problems and difficulties.
Launching the housing scheme in G-11/4 sector of
Islamabad, the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said government is taking
concrete measures to promote construction industry to provide shelter to
the people and generate maximum employment opportunities. He said a
strategy has been devised to ensure provision of houses with proprietary
rights to all the federal government employees before their retirement.
The PM has announced that the one thousand low cost apartments would be
completed by the end of next year in Islamabad. He said four new sectors
will be opened in the capital and more flats would be built for the
low-paid employees. Similar apartments would also be constructed in the
provincial headquarters shortly.
Shaukat Aziz said government employees of grade 1-16
will get their own flats during their service span at an affordable
price due to this housing scheme. As many as 1000 flats of C, D, and E
category will be constructed as a pilot project at a cost Rs1.5 million.
The allottee will contribute 40 percent of the cost in installment,
while the National Bank of Pakistan will finance the remaining 60
percent cost arranged through the Housing Foundation.
The Prime Minister assured the jubilant employees of
the federal government that allotment would be through computer
balloting with no quota for anyone. "There will be no quota for the
President, Prime Minister or any one as all employees are equal before
the government," the premier said amid loud applause. He said the
initiative would end depression and anxiety of those employees who found
themselves in utter disarray over the housing problem after retirement.
The PM asked the banks and the financial institutions to provide
low-interest loans to such employees to help improve their living
In his welcome address, Minister for Housing, Syed
Safwanullah said five new projects to construct apartments for low paid
employees will shortly be launched in Islamabad under the 'Housing for
The Economic Coordination Committee of (ECC) of the
Cabinet, in its meeting held in Islamabad on Tuesday under the
Chairmanship of the Prime Minister took many laudable decisions. These
decisions related to free movement of wheat, quick disposal of 1.58
million bales of cotton lying with TCP, concessional duty on new model
cars imported by manufacturers, and extension of reduced tax regime to
machinery and equipment for construction industry, with a view to
resolving some of the serious problems already being faced by the
nation's economy. The most important of them belongs to the free
movement of wheat.
In his briefing to newsmen, Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan,
Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, revealed that the ECC was apprised
of the prospects of a bumper wheat crop of 22 million tonnes, exceeding
the target of 20,2 million tonnes, and thus, also leaving a surplus of
1.8 million tonnes. This was what prompted the ECC to call for removal
of any restrictions on inter-district or inter-provincial movement of
Learning the right lessons from earlier restrictions
on the movement of the staple food, the ECC did well to allow free wheat
across the country. As for the inadvisability of the Punjab government's
recent restrictions on inter-provincial movement of wheat, reference may
be made to the grim outcome last year and the growing discontent in
Sindh and NWFP to the detriment of national harmony as the Punjab
government's repeated directives. It will, therefore, be necessary to
ensure that the decisions for free movement of wheat are implemented in
letter and spirit. Moreover, as the provincial governments have also
been asked to meet the wheat requirements of the flour millers to the
full, in order to ensure that the price of atta remains stable, the
Advisor rightly observed that this would have dampening effect on
inflation, for which multi-directional efforts are being made. Mention,
in this regard, may also be made of ECC's decision to create a strategic
reserve of 0.9 million tonnes, and an operational reserve of 4.73
million tonnes both at the same time, aimed at ensuring smooth supply of
wheat and price stability.
Addressing a press conference at the end of his day
long visit of the Industrial city of Faisalabad on Friday the Prime
Minister said that the government was taking all necessary measures to
keep Pakistani industry competitive after the enforcement of WTO regime.
In this regard, he said, treatment plants were being set up in the
industrial towns to ensure the mandatory environmental and social
compliance required for the international market.
About the availability of skilled manpower, he said
that a comprehensive strategy had been evolved to set up technical and
vocational training centers throughout the country to produce skilled
manpower. He said that the financial health of Pakistan Railways had
improved substantially and added that the institution was in a better
position to invest for expanding instructor through laying new tracks
and doubling of the existing networks besides getting new rolling stock.
Pakistan Railways should make economic and efficient use of the land
lying with it idle for many years. He said that the sale of the land
could help generate sufficient fund for the up-gradation of Pakistan
PM said that the business friendly policies of the
present government have brought substantial foreign investment in the
industrial sector, ushering in a new era of progress and economic
stability. "Rapid industrialization will not only help generate
more jobs but also increase the exports of the country, he said while
speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony of PVC manufacturing plant of
Sitara Group of industries, some 32 kms from here. On the construction
of Faisalabad-Multan Motorway (M4) he said that the process of land
acquisition had already been initiated and the construction would be
completed on top priority basis.
After the Cabinet meeting which approved the legal
reforms bill 2005, the Prime Minister, while talking to a group of MNAs
said that the proposed law reforms approved by the Federal Cabinet is
the fulfillment of the promise made by him to the nation to ensure
inexpensive justice, expeditious disposal of cases and redressed of
outstanding grievances in the administration of justice.
The Prime Minister said curtailing undue
discretionary powers; simply procedures and removal of procedural
impediments were the hallmark of these reforms. These are aimed at
providing easy access to justice and upholding the rule of law as the
government believes that justice delayed is justice denied.
The PM said that the government was fully aware of
the difficulties faced by the common man and taking corrective measures
to redress the grievances. He expressed his confidence that these
reforms will help improve the living standard of the low income strata
of the society.
The reform package curtails the discretionary powers
of the police by introducing changes in civil and criminal statues hired
removing procedural laws in judicial system to cruse provision of
expensive and speedy justice in the country.
Understandably, dispensation of timely and
inexpensive justice has remained a buzz word with every government in
Pakistan since the inception of the country, but the passion was hardly
transformed into a reality. It may be recalled that in his very first
address to the nation, the PM had pledged to introduce judicial reforms
to ensure dispense of speedy justice to the poor masses.
The law reforms package approved by the Cabinet
apparently represents his firm commitments to establish an egalitarian
society in Pakistan with social and economic justice as its hallmark.
Justice is the cardinal principle of Islam and essential prerequisite
for salvation of a nation. History bears witness to the fact that many a
society with tendency of trampling justice has perished. Justice is
important for all societies, but it is vital for Pakistan which
comprised hapless and deprived masses. Poor litigants have to run from
pillar to post to seek justice especially at the level of the lower
judiciary, which is infested with corrupt, inefficient and shirker
elements. Police, on the other hand, has emerged as a monster due to
unprecedented discretionary powers that it wields under the law at will
and whim. The life of the common man is simply miserable at the hands of
both the police and judiciary. Its, therefore, a matter of satisfaction
that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's Government has responded to the
urgent need of providing relief to the masses, who are groaning under
the high cost and delayed process of justice in the country. It's
universally established that justice delayed amounts to justice denied,
yet litigation in our country stretches over years and decades depriving
the poor litigants of their lifelong resources. Ironically, the hapless
seldom get justice, which is invariably stolen by the affluent and
influential adversaries. It's hoped that the package will be approved by
Parliament at the earliest for consequent dispensation of quick and
inexpensive justice in the country.