KARACHI - Sindh Governor Dr Ishartul Ebad Khan has stressed the need for launching maximum low-cost housing schemes in order to stop mushrooming of slums in the city as these turn into hubs of criminal activities.

Addressing the launching ceremony of ABAD International Expo-2016 here at the Governor’s House on Saturday, he asked the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan to come up with comprehensive proposals to build low-cost houses in the slum areas, adding the Sindh government would provide land for such housing schemes free of cost.

The 3-day expo is scheduled to begin at Karachi Expo Centre on August 12, said a statement issued here on Saturday.

Ebad congratulated ABAD on holding the exhibition, saying the event would enhance economic activities in the country.

He also appreciated the progress being made by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) under the leadership of SM. Muneer, who is Chief Executive Officer of the authority. The governor said that combined efforts were need of the hour to enforcenational spirit.

ABAD Chairman Hanif Gauhar expressed the optimism that a fix tax would be imposed on builders in the next federal budget so that the builders could work peacefully without any kind of harassment from the tax collecting authorities. Explaining the fix tax, he said that it would be between Rs20 and Rs210 per square foot.

He requested the Sindh Governor to intervene and stop raids by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials on the offices of builders, saying these acts created unrest among the people belonging to the profession.

Gauhar paid glowing tributes to Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Sindh

Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Director General Rangers (Sindh) Major General Bilal Akbar and Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja for restoring peace in the province, especially in Karachi. Appreciating the business-friendly role of the governor, he said the issue of moratorium on gas and water connections to high rise residential buildings had been settled due to intervention by the governor.

“The whole builder community is grateful to the governor for becoming the Patron-in-Chief of ABAD’s International Expo-2016,” he said.

Patron-in-Chief of ABAD Mohsin Sheikhani said the backlog of houses in the country had increased to 8.8 million units, which was increasing every year. “If timely action is not taken, the situation would get out of control,” he warned.

He informed that 12 countries had confirmed their participation in the Expo.

TDAP CEO said that TDAP would participate in 146 exhibitions this year,

and the ABAD Expo-2016 would be a unique event.