Peshawar, like other main cities of Pakistan, have a number of poor families, comprising of mostly women and children, living in make shift tents on empty areas. We have all seen them and have read about how local authorities have a tough time removing their “illegal” homes from government land. They don’t own any land, therefore they have to live on government areas, but the law in Pakistan forces the landowners, that is government organizations, to evict the squatters to avoid future land confiscation. These families do not have any access to energy, clean drinking water and toilets.

For the Government of Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it would be easy to provide unused government land for these families to construct mud houses. They can be provided with new bigger tents with weather and rain protection, as there are many suitable designs available for low cost. Providing them with government owned homes, that are clustered around a school or women working and training organization would improve their standard of living. Therefore I request the Government of KPK and Pakistan to please create a system or law that would allow these families to live in safe and protective homes, that have safe water and toilets available. Even big land owning government organizations like Railway, Forest, Highways etc can be asked to allot 15% of their land to such projects and laws can ensure that no land is taken over.

ENGR. SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,

Peshawar, December 10.