The Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan thinks that homelessness is a problem worth solving. He has already instructed the Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar to set up tents for those who fail to find abode in the chilly nights of winters and sleep either on greenbelts or footpaths. The directions issued by the PM are praiseworthy. He thinks, correctly, that providing shelter to those who are unable to afford is the government’s responsibility.

A safe shelter where one can go to rest after beating the odds of everyday life is every person’s dream. However, for many, it’s a costly one. Once a famous political slogan of some political parties, recently, political parties have put the issue of homelessness on the back burner.

Unlike his predecessors the incumbent PM understands what the harsh weather can do to the poor. Also, not waiting for the proposed Panah Gahs (Shelter Homes) to complete, his instructions to set up tents for the poor homeless people shows that the issue is on his priority list.

The construction of the shelter homes can be seen as part of the larger project of providing cheap houses to poor people that Imran Khan’s party manifesto details. Though the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has taken the reigns of the government while economic crisis is looming over its head, the party is determined to deliver on some of the key promises it had made to the public before the general elections.

Moreover, it is not only Lahore that is central to Imran. He has also issued instructions to the relevant authorities in other cities as well to protect the unprotected ones from the extreme weather. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), four out of ten Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty. And none of these people has adequate housing facility that can provide them with a refuge from the severities that the extreme weathers hold for them. The initiative of the government will provide relief to many such people.

The initiative is unprecedented in the recent past of the country. It is yet to be seen if Imran can address the issue of housing in Pakistan given the economic situation of the country. However, he deserves the respect that he’s not put the idea on the back burner. While the initiative and directions of the government cannot be criticised at all, it is, however, essential to come up with a concrete plan to remedy the situation so that the problem finds a sustainable solution.