Farash Town slum dwellers in Islamabad have finally been granted the authority to sell off their lands by receiving transfer letters of ownership. This is the final step in the efforts to give former slum-dwellers the opportunity to own their own homes. Given that unsanctioned slums have no legal cover and hence those that live there can become homeless at a moment’s notice, granting property to residents of Farash Town is a legitimate and lasting policy decision that will help in poverty alleviation.

The Capital Development Authority’s go-ahead on the allotment letters spells great news for 1231 residents of Farash Town. But now the rousing success of this initiative demands that we replicate this elsewhere as well. Extending this first, in other areas of the capital and later to perhaps other districts and cities as well, will ensure more and more people benefit from the policy. Including the marginalised into the system and protecting them via legal cover to ensure their right to property is not taken away due to state or individual pressure is something that all policymakers, provincial and federal should be prioritising on.

Several slum dwellers are at a disadvantage and their issue has also been highlighted by human rights activists and civil society members. To be able to manage this development on a national level will be a huge achievement for the government. However, the process needs to be fast-paced so that people do not have to wait for the legalisation of their property for several consecutive years.