ISLAMABAD: The capital administration on Wednesday started property verification to counter land-related fraud in the city. Overseas Pakistanis can benefit from facility after one week l Notices being served on owners of illegal societies

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Hamza Shafqat inaugurated the Property Verification Centre (PVC) at Facilitation Centre in the DC Office. Mr Shafqaat said PVC was a joint venture of the capital administration and Capital Development Authority (CDA), and a portal had been created having records of land and housing societies of the CDA and the capital administration. The DC also requested people to use the CityApp launched by the administration.

Overseas Pakistanis and citizens residing in other parts of the country were the main victims of land fraud committed in the capital in the name of housing societies, the DC said, adding that the majority of these societies had either been declared illegal or did not fall in the jurisdiction of Islamabad.

Ghouri Town is the biggest land/housing scam in the history of the capital, the DC said, adding that it was illegal and the CDA had also mentioned it on its website but people still bought land there. Scores of illegal housing societies’ offices had been established outside the capital so that legal action against them could be avoided, he said, adding that Section 144 of the CrPC had been imposed in Islamabad with regards to such societies.

Moreover, scores of housing societies are actually located outside the capital, but their owners claim they are in the federal capital to attract buyers, Mr. Shafqaat said. In a bid to ensure transparency in the real estate sector, the district administration has unveiled the very first PVC, which will help people in investing in real estate projects and housing schemes that had been verified by the DC Office and declared legal as per the laws of the country.

“The verification center will allow a purchaser to check the legal status of the plot before closing a deal,” he said, adding that the center encompassed all data provided by the DC Office which will help bring transparency in the real estate sector. For the purpose of inquiry, a form must be filled by the purchaser and the legal status of a property will be communicated within 24 hours.

Anyone who wants to purchase land in the capital can verify it from the centre free-of-cost, the DC said, adding that after a week, overseas Pakistanis will also be able to verify the status of land before purchasing it. Mr. Shafqaat said notices were being served on owners of illegal societies. Besides, strict action has been announced against illegal, residential, and commercial projects that are underway, he added.

So far, the administration has retrieved land measuring 20,000 kanals worth billions of rupees from the land mafia, he said, adding that after the Illegal Dispossession Act of 2005, session courts had the authority to get the land in illegal possession vacated. About a dozen slums in the capital are regularised, he said, adding that residences had been constructed in Alipur Farash where 400 families from Noorpur Shahan would be settled.