The ideal environment where land developers, looking for profits in range of over 200 to 1000% exists in what comprise Third World, where laws exist only on statute books and are rarely implemented.
In countries like Sierra Leone or Niger etc armed militias are vital for land developers to operate, because instead of construction, the profits lie in mining rare metals and precious stones or diamonds. However in countries where judiciary and state institutions exists, armed militias alone cannot deliver. In such countries only those land developers, involved in construction, thrive and survive, who have connections with pliable public holders and their ability to cultivate a nexus with members of powerful institutions, who can be bought through bribes, gifts and whatever needs to be done to seek their cooperation. Credibility has to be established in key projects while projects with investors from lower middle class can be abandoned easily. If private owned free media exists, than cooperation of few black sheep is sought through power of advertisements and generous gifts etc, who project them as philanthropists.
Armed private militias are required to enforce carrot and stick formula where unwilling poor land owners need to be roughed up and forced to submit. Cooperation of law enforcement is essential pre-requisite for projects to proceed smoothly.
The developer must be willing to bribe anybody of any consequence so that roads can be built and construction expedited to an extent that plots can be sold to investors including expatriate overseas Pakistan. To take care of few citizens or groups who continue to live in a ‘fool’s paradise’ believing in writ of law, services of prominent lawyers are required to seek repetitive adjournments exploiting the corrupt lower judiciary. Once development work has been carried out and majority of plots or houses offered to individual investors are sold, than it is time to instruct lawyers to go easy on adjournments and prepare to plead the case citing third party interests of innocent investors caught in between. While profit margin is unbelievably attractive, the quality of construction work and civic amenities offered in prestige projects must be comparable to those existing in the region, to attract affluent investors.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, May 22.