Archive for March, 2012

The existing housing crisis was discussed in the detail by a variety of stakeholders of Pakistan’s Housing Construction Industry, at a conference recently held in Karachi Participants from Association of Builders and Developers, House Building Finance Company Ltd, Pakistan Housing Authority, Grand Leisure Corporation, Lyari Development Authority, NESPAK, Institute of Architects Pakistan, and other organizations  attended a 1-day conference organized by I&M Conferences at Marriott Hotel in Karachi.

The objective of the conference was to highlight the importance of the housing construction sector for the development of the national economy and for a creating productive, safe and modern society in Pakistan.

Dr. Kaiser Bengali, the noted development economist, and former Advisor to the Sindh Governement, said that the new housing schemes will not meet the needs of the struggling low-income population of the country.  According to Dr. Kaiser, the best way to address the housing shortage is to make more serviced land available to the homeless, and the assist them build their own homes.  He said that the existing housing stock for upper-middle class group was unoccupied and that new housing schemes were being driven by the motivations and objectives of speculators.

Dr. Bengali spoke on a panel with the title, “New Housing Schemes and Planned Cities.  Following him, Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, the CEO of the non-profit agency Saiban, said that that the best way to achieve housing for the low-income is to allow them to build home incrementally on a self-help basis.

Former City Nazim, Karachi, Senator Syed Mustafa Kamal, expressed his concern that due to mass migration from rural areas to cities, there would be an increase in katchi abadis in all cities of Pakistan, and that the government must face this reality and formulate a workable policy for housing that safe-guards the lives and properties of urban residents.  Katchi abadis are centers for crime, for illegal water connections, for illegal electricity through kunda system, and for the spread of illness and disease due to open sewage.

The topic of housing finance was handled by Mr. Azhar Jaffri, MD, House Building Finance Company Ltd, and bankers from Meezan Bank Ltd and Bank Islami.  Mr. S.M. Muneer, the President of of Pakistan India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that housing finance in India is provided to the public by five different groups of institutions namely:  Scheduled Commercial Banks, Scheduled Co-operative Banks, Agricultural and Rural Development Banks,  Housing Finance Companies, State Level Apex Cooperative Housing and Finance Societies. The Housing finance sector in India has experienced unprecedented change in its structure from its formulation stage.  Indian Housing finance has far moved from the stages of being a solely government provided service during the 1970’s to a very competitive sector with more than 45 housing finance entities providing housing loans worth more than Indian Rs 781 billion to home buyers across India.

I&M is a highly respected 46 year old Pakistani media company that specializes in organizing industry conferences.  Some of the speakers and panelists included Mr. S.M. Muneer, the President of of Pakistan India Chamber of Commerce  and Industry;  Mr. Arif Habib, Chairman, Arif Habib Corporation; Mr. Shahid Feroz, Senior Director, Arfeen International; Mr. Mohsin Sheikhani, Chairman, ABAD;  Mr. Asad Ismail Khan, MD, NESPAK.  The participants admired the effort of I&M Conferences to bringing experts from different professions under one roof for Pakistan’s development.

Mr. Abrar Ameen, Chairman, Association of Mortgage Bankers of Pakistan informed the gathering that his association was working with the Housing and Infrastructure Department of State Bank of Pakistan to create developer funds for housing.  He said that commercial banks were almost non-existent in mortgage financing, and that only 5000 units were financed by commercial banks in all of Pakistan in 2011.

Prof S. B. Hassan of I&M, Executive Committee Member of APNS, thanked the participants for their participation.  He reminded the audience that March 21 was celebrated as World Poetry Day, and suggested that March 22 should be designated in Pakistan as Pakistan Housing Day.  The conference began with recitation of Holy Quran and National Anthem, to observe and honour Pakistan Day on March 23.


Karachi Observer Report

The Oscar award-winning Pakistani-Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, having created waves of late, has another feather added to her cap with her selection for the Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 to be held at Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, on March 8.

Besides Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, those having been selected for the Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 are Nargis Sethi (Civil Service), Salma Ataullah Jan (Politics), Dr Fehmida Mirza (Politics), Fatima Surriya Bajia (Playwright), Nasira Wazir Ali (Educationist), Nusrat Bhutto (Politics), Bushra Ansari (Television), Bushra Rahman (Literature), Sheema Kirmani (Classical Dance), Asma Jahangir (Human Rights), Justice Majida Rizvi (Law & Justice), Musarrat Misbah (Cosmetologist), Salima Hashmey (Artist/Painter), Sofia Qasim Kasuri (Education), Khanum Tayyaba Bukhari (Religious Scholar), Roshan-e-Zafar (Banking), Captain Tarana Saleem (Commercial Flying), Sadia Naveed (Entrepreneur), Nasim Hameed (Athletics), Dr Shahnaz Dar (Medicine) and St Julie Martha Pacheco (Social Services).

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

The award winners of the Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 were announced by Shaikh Rashid Alam, Chief Executive Officer, National Hero Foundation (NHF), in a media briefing at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on March 2.

The Najeeb Ahmed Terrace of the KPC was tastefully decorated for the media launch of the second Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 with the top officials of the NHF taking the centre-stage. Besides CEO Shaikh Rashid Alam, the NHF Governing Council members present on the occasion were Mohammad Shakil Khan, Syed Khurshid Akbar Shah, Abdul Hafeez Subhani and Huma Bukhari.

Shaikh Rashid Alam explained that the Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 have been classified in three different categories namely Women Icon, Women Pride and Women of Inspiration.

He disclosed that Nargis Sethi, Salma Ataullah Jan, Dr Fehmida Mirza have been selected as Women Icons while Fatima Surriya Bajia, Nasira Wazir Ali, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Nusrat Bhutto have been slotted in the category of Women Pride while the others have been classified in the category of Women of Inspiration.

He also revealed that for the first time an overseas Pakistani, Salma Ataullah Jan, Member Canadian Senate, have made it to the list.

Shaikh Rashid Alam

Shaikh Rashid Alam stated that a grand ceremony will be held to present the Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012 at Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, on March 8, which is also International Women Day.

The ceremony, he added, will be presided over by Dr Fehimda Mirza, Speaker, National Assembly, while the guests of honour will include Abdul Sattar Edhi, a renowned social worker, Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Member National Assembly from FATA, and Mahmood Sham, a veteran journalist.

The Wonder Women of the Year Awards 2012, being organized by the National Hero Foundation (NHF), is being co-sponsored by Daily Pakistan Observer, while its supporters include Government of Pakistan, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce (FPCCI), Brand of the Year Awards, 3 Woogle and SMS Business Ltd.

The Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis Dr. Nadeem Ehsan has said that kidney transplantation would soon start in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Rise in kidney diseases now seen in Sindh for which measures were being taken on the government level. More kidney centers on government level will be established in Karachi. He expressed these views while inaugurating the 7 bedded Nephro/Urology ICU in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital on Friday which has been completed with a cost of Rs10million.

Principal KMDC Prof. Dr. Waqar Kazmi, Sr. Director Medical Services Dr. Nasir Javed, M.S Abbasi Shaheed Hospital Dr. Nadeem Rajput, Farooq Jamil of Medical Aid Committee, Senior Doctors and Paramedical Staff were also present on this occasion. Dr. Nadeem Ehsan while appreciating the measures taken by KMC for the establishment of more kidney centers in Karachi directed to form a technical and ethical committee for kidney transplantation in ASH. He said kidney transplantation facility would be provided in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital within a month. Replying a query he said problem of shortage of medicines in KMC hospitals will soon be solved.