- By: Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad
In every government, the provision of essential services for a decent standard of living is a crucial responsibility. The Ministry of Housing and Works (MOHW) in Pakistan has established various departments across the country, yet there has been a noticeable lack of significant progress. Numerous projects, including the prominent Peshawar Residencia, have faced issues such as fraud allegations and suspension, leaving the public in a state of uncertainty and legal battles.
Peshawar Residencia, touted as one of the largest projects by PHAF and PHA-KP, was promised to be completed by 2023 but has now been exposed as a fraudulent endeavor. Allottees are currently awaiting a decision from the Peshawar High Court regarding this matter.
The petitioners being allottees, consisting of 72 individuals, have submitted all necessary documents and payment details. Several key issues and violations have been identified, including:
The delay in the project cannot be solely attributed to miscreants, as the recently signed agreements indicate that they were correct in their concerns leading to land disputes in violation of KP Local Government rules. Labeling locals as troublemakers without legal backing is unjustifiable, as no FIR or legal cover exists or recorded.
Key procedural requirements under KP Local Government Housing Scheme (LGHS) rules even for private housing societies have been overlooked, such as resolving land disputes, establishing a master plan, and addressing public objections before launch. The resolution of land issues through agreements with locals/miscreants further highlights the illegal launch of the project.
Demarcation for boundary walls and other essential steps required by KP rules before launching are still pending, indicating a violation of procedural norms. Soil testing, geographical layout plan, master plan, and topography requirements have not been fulfilled before the launch. Submission of the master plan and advertising certain prerequisites recently does not equate to genuine progress. PHA and PHAF’s credibility has been questioned due to previous fake and fraudulent advertisements.
Launching projects without possession of land and necessary surveys violates even the KP rules, leading to penalties under section 40. Amazingly, the petitioners through their association, AAPRA (All Allottees Peshawar Residencia Association) asked both the PHAF and the PHA-KP for relevant rules under which the project shall take place but get a verbal reply that we also run our projects under the same LGHS rules. These rules indeed state that:
PHAF has not committed to completing the project within the stipulated period, violating KP rules. No progress can be considered on the project, as prerequisites such as land development, master plan approval, and housing scheme tendering are yet to be completed. The claim of starting the project is questionable, given that even the prerequisites are incomplete that were supposed to be done even before launching and advertising the project. Thus, under these relevant rules, the fraud with innocent allottees and public in the name of the mega project for low-income citizens is indeed a fraud that has led them to litigation and mental stress.
We request penalties to be imposed on both PHAF and PHA-KP for initiating an immature project on disputed land without fulfilling the necessary prerequisites mandated by KP rules for such a significant undertaking. The project was promoted through vibrant advertisements containing misleading statements about its completion within three years. This situation has significantly impacted the mental well-being of the allottees and their families.
Moreover, according to the aforementioned KP rules (section 26 b), developers are obligated to ensure that all allottees become members of the association, in this case, AAPRA. However, PHAF is violating rules by refusing to share the association’s members list. Additionally, as per section 26-e, developers are bound to deliver houses within the specified project timeline. In case of failure, a 2% monthly liability payment on the paid amount should be made to the allottees. Instead, developers are exploiting this section, by charging 10-12% even for cancellation when a member wants refunding his invested already devalued invested money.
Considering the circumstances, we request the government for, though the property can be forfeited under section 40 of the aforementioned rules and must be handover to allottees for compensation with a full refund. But at least both the departments, PHAF and PHA-KP, should be issued a warning as the initial claims by petitioners, asserting that PHAF committed a fraud against the innocent public, have been substantiated by the recent clearing of the land post-petition. Numerous KP government rules for launching a housing project have been blatantly breached, as acknowledged by the developers themselves. In the best interest of the petitioners, a one-year project completion deadline is urgently requested to prevent further victimization by potential fraud from both PHAF and KP PHA to secure the allottees.