ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works Tuesday asked the National Accountability Bureau to vacate its G-6 building and hand over it to the Estate Office.

The top brass of the Ministry of Housing informed the committee that many offices in the NAB building, G-06/4 are empty so these offices must be handed over to the Estate office.

During the meeting, the officials of Ministry of Housing and Works revealed that retired employees in Karachi have illegally occupied 4,100 houses of the Estate Office since 2005.

They said the courts have decided against the retired employees and in favour of Estate Office but the property has still to be vacated from the illegal occupants. They said according to rules, an allottee on his retirement or expiry of contract period should be entitled to retain the accommodation under his occupation for a period not exceeding six months, on payment of normal rent.

The committee was informed that there is a shortage of 21910 houses in Islamabad while total shortage of government houses in the country stands at 26,724 units.

The total number of government accommodation in Karachi is 7882, Lahore 1934, Peshawar 669 while in Quetta 498 houses falls under the domain of the Estate Office.

The officials insisted that there was no discretion policy in allotment of accommodation, adding allotments purely were given on merit.

They said the total budget of Estate Office Islamabad is Rs80 million, the budget of Karachi is Rs40 million while Lahore’s budget is Rs6.6 million. The budget of Estate Office Peshawar is Rs9.8 million while the budget of Quetta is Rs3.7 million. The one fourth of total grant is spent on the human resource.

The officials said Estate Office has also owned 221 shops and nine petrol pumps in Karachi while 32 shops in Lahore and 20 shops in Peshawar.

Before 2011, the government officials were allotted government residences on discretionary basis, however, after the orders of Supreme Court the allotment is made on the basis of seniority.

They said the allotment in Islamabad has been computerised while by June this year the allotment system of the whole country would be computerised.