ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that construction of low cost and affordable houses would resolve the shortage of houses especially in major cities while at the same time the activity would generate job opportunities and help promote the economic growth.

Construction of around five million low-cost houses is part of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf manifesto and after winning the elections in his maiden address to the nation Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated to roll out the project at earliest.

While taking the briefing on low-cost and affordable housing project here at Prime Minister’s office on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted a committee under the head of Federal Secretary Housing and Works to come up with initial feasibility report on the project, termed ambitious by his critics.

The meeting with Yaqoob Izahar, Najeeb Haroon, Arshad Dad, Secretary Housing & Works Dr. Imran Zeb Khan, Secretary Law Justice (retd) Abdul Shakoor Paracha and other senior officers in attendance the project came under threadbare discussion.

The Prime Minister said that construction of low-cost and affordable five million houses is the foremost priority of the Government which would not only address the housing issues of the people especially in major cities but would also promote economic growth and create job opportunities.

“Simultaneously, we have to devise a comprehensive mechanism for regulating katchi-abaadis and slums without dislocating poor people and ensuring provision of all civic amenities to the people in those areas,” continued the Prime Minister.

After a detailed discussion on various international models and roadmap for addressing the issue of housing, a committee was constituted by the Prime Minister under Secretary Housing & Works to devise a comprehensive and coherent plan of action, in consultation with relevant experts and representatives of concerned departments, taking into account all aspects including the legal framework, availability of the land bank and raising of required resources for smooth implementation of the project.

The committee would submit its initial recommendations to the Prime Minister within one week. The Prime Minister emphasised that private sector should be encouraged and maximum facilitation be extended to those who would be partnering with the government in the implementation of ‘05 Million Housing Programme’.

During electioneering, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) unveiled its 100-day development and reform agenda to be completed within the first 100 days of government. The agenda includes transformation in governance, revitalisation of economic growth and ensuring the country’s national security.

The PTI chief, making multiple religious references in his address, said that he envisions a Pakistan in which a leader is accountable even for the death of an animal. “All policies under this 100 days agenda will look into how to make education, employment and other basic rights accessible to the common man,” said Imran Khan. “A civilised society is not known by how many big houses are constructed in Defence Housing Authorities, or now in Bahria [Town], but how people in the slums live,” he added.

He said that the temperatures in Pakistan were rising because of climate change which is a reality and that its effects can only be mitigated by planting more trees. He regretted that the party’s Billion Tree Tsunami project in KP was criticised by the PML-N despite being acknowledged by international organisations.