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Ambitious plan to build five million homes will solve nation’s housing problem, Rizvi

BANGKOK: An ambitious venture to build five million affordable homes within the timeframe of five years in Pakistan will tap student architects and use local materials and improved technologies to keep costs low, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to build four million homes in rural and urban zones, and one million homes in the outskirts of urban areas over a period of five years.
It is the biggest State-sponsored housing program that was ever attempted, and will meet half of Pakistan’s housing needs, said Zaigham Rizvi, chairman of the federal task force on housing.

“Affordable housing is not just an issue in poor countries; it is an issue in nearly every country,” Rizvi said on the sidelines of a housing forum in Bangkok.

“But the promise of ‘housing for all’ is usually nothing more than a political slogan, and rarely implemented because of a lack of will or because the institutional framework is lacking,” he said.

By 2030, more than 50% of Pakistan’s projected 250 million citizens are expected to move into cities, compared to 36% now, according to the United Nations.

About 25% of the country’s population currently lives below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank.

“Authorities in the country are developing more than 24 pilot villages in Punjab, the nation’s most populous province, using common lands – wasteland or grazing land – and unused public lands”, Rizvi said

“We want to engage the youth in solving the nation’s problems. In the village, they are not used to high-rise buildings, so they will be at most one-story buildings,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


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