Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a promise before General Elections 2013 that his party would strive to eventually provide a house to each Pakistani family through a public-private partnership. He made this promise at a press conference for the unveiling of his party’s Manifesto 2013.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, under its 1996 United Nations Habitat Conference, recognised “Adequate Shelter for All” as a basic human right. Under the Declaration, all governments should ensure adequate housing for their citizens.
The Government of Pakistan, being a signatory to the Declaration, is bound to providing shelter to all citizens. But according to the Ministry of Housing and Works, millions of Pakistanis do not have proper shelter and they have to live in unsuitable places and conditions. The previous government also promised to provide shelter to every family, but couldn’t keep its word. According to the Ministry of Housing and Works website, the last National Housing Policy was approved in 2001 by then-President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan to date does not have a comprehensive National Housing Policy.
While talking to Truth Tracker by phone, PML-N spokesperson Siddique al-Farooq said, “Mian Nawaz Sharif is serious about providing a house to each Pakistani family. The Aashiana Housing Scheme is a step in this direction. God willing, we will fulfill every promise we made to the nation and will never let down the masses.”
He said that his party planned 500,000 houses for citizens and that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would announce the plan in the near future.
“Right now, our leadership is tackling serious issues like the energy crisis and terrorism. We will surely thrash out strategies in the coming days to deal with less-severe issues. But I assure [you] that our leadership will fulfill every promise made to the nation,” he added.
“In talk about providing a house to each Pakistani family, you can gauge PML-N’s sincerity by looking at the fact that Nawaz Sharif’s government has not yet been able to devise a mechanism for tackling serious issues like terrorism in the country,” said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s spokesperson Andleeb Abbas while talking to Truth Tracker by telephone. “PML-N has not taken any step, neither in Punjab nor in the Centre, in this regard,” she added.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesperson Qamar Zaman Kaira, while talking to Truth Tracker, said that PPP’s government had taken a lot of steps in that regard and that as far as PML-N was concerned, history was a witness to the fact that the party’s leadership never took any such measures in Punjab during its previous tenure there. “They (the Sharif brothers) have no such vision,” he added.
While Talking to Truth Tracker, Dr. Mehdi Hassan, chairman of Mass Communication Department at Beacon House National University, said that Pakistani politicians were in habit of misleading the masses by announcing politically lucrative policies before elections.
“Once politicians are at the helm of affairs, they forget their promises,” Hassan said. “As far as PML-N is concerned, the party did nothing worth mentioning for the poor vis-à-vis housing,” he lamented.
Truth Tracker finds that fulfillment of the promise has not started. We will keep monitoring it.