ISLAMABAD - Complying with the directions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Ministry of Housing and Works would construct as many as 500,000 residential units for low-income group with in next five years, State Minister for Housing and Works Usman Ibrahim told Senate Standing committee on Housing and Works on Monday.

The meeting was also attended by Rajab Ali Khan Baloch, Nasir Iqbal Bosal, Nawabzada Mazher Ali, Ghulam Muhammad Lali, Tahira Aurangzeb, Khalida

Mansoor, Nighat Parveen Mir, Maulana Ameer Zaman, Sajid Nawaz, and Abdul Qahar Khan.

He, however, added that ministry of housing and works is waiting for launching of National Housing Policy to formally start working on constructing residential units. “National Housing Policy would be announced soon under which ministry will construct 500,000 low-cost housing units in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar,” he informed the National Standing Committee on House and Works.

Chairman Standing committee Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari presided over the meeting. The committee directed the ministry to allocate 25 per cent share of non-gazetted employees in the Prime Minister’s low cost housing scheme. The minister also apprised the committee that ministry is going to undertake an operation to vacate Federal Lodges from illegal and unauthorised occupants.

The joint secretary of ministry housing informed the committee that focus of the PHAF was to provide affordable housing units to low-income groups, providing housing facilities to the government employees and reducing gap between the demands of the housing units. He said PHAF has completed 16 projects during 1999-2006 in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar, while 10 projects are near completion.

Over the performance of Estate Office, the committee was informed that there are only 17,227 government residences in federal capital while 19,175 more houses are needed to meet the shortfall. Over a query, the committee was apprised that an Enforcement Branch has been established to vacate Government accommodation from illegal occupants. The committee directed Director General Pak PWD to take measures for the release of remaining funds to complete ongoing development schemes identified by the parliamentarians.

SUDAN MILITARY TEAM CONCLUDES PAK VISIT: Sudanese military delegation has concluded its four-day visit to Pakistan, following its interactions with senior military and defence officials.

The delegation arrived Pakistan last week to meet Pakistan’s military command and defence authorities. Bilateral agreements between Pakistan and Sudan were also reviewed during the Sudanese delegation visit. Both the sides have agreed to enhance military and defence relations between the two states in order to enable Sudan meet its military and defence requirements.