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KARACHI: Pending housing projects in Gwadar irk investors

KARACHI: The future of real estate projects in Gwadar seems bleak as the government continues to pay little heed to the scams rampant in the region.

Sales Manager of Canadian City Gwadar, Azam Khilji, said most housing projects in the area are at stake since potential investors have lost all interest in the area. He said those who had invested earlier are still suffering because the projects have come to a standstill. “We now say that Gwadar has been left at the mercy of God because there is no hope for the projects there.”

Khilji also said the steadily deteriorating law and order situation in the country has put investors off, especially the increasing unrest in Quetta. He was of the view that if the government tried to finish pending projects, then more investors would be willing to come forward.

According to analyst Shahbaz Mukhtar, Gwadar was brought to the limelight by the government in 2004 with the vision of turning it into a bustling port city. Thus, a plethora of housing societies were launched and real estate prices shot up from as low as Rs500,000 to about Rs5 million.

It was then that many investments were turned into housing schemes by local investors in 2004, Mukhtar explained. After 2005, the hype died down a little but when Gwadar Port was revived in 2007, the prices shot up once again.

Mukhtar said it was because of the deteriorating economic conditions, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, that the projects in Gwadar became a distant dream. “The prices have fallen once again,” he lamented.

An investor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had invested in one of the housing projects in Gwadar, the Creek City, which is situated near the Governor House. The project, he said, was launched in 2004 and he was one of the first people to invest in a 1,000 square yard corner plot meant for residential purposes. As the property prices appreciated over a period of three to four months, he said, the plot allocated to him was put somewhere in the middle of the society.

When the investor protested, the management of Creek City offered to return him his initial investment which he declined at that time. However, since then the plot allocation plans have been changed four times, he added. Worst still is the fact that his initial 1,000 square yard plot has now been reduced to 400 square yards because the society requires wider roads and other amenities. Thus, this compromised the original plans.

Furthermore, the society is now quite commercialised with fewer housing plots, once again not in line with the original plans. Thus, he felt that the Gwadar Development Authority was fully aware of these facts and threatened to take the management to court for fraud.

The management then tried to bribe him with another plot of 400 square yards in Creek City Phase II near the Iran coastal highway. However, he refused pointing out that documents of the second scheme also seemed shady and consisted of clauses with loopholes.

He was asked to wait till a settlement could be reached which was almost six months ago. The investor admitted that he had never visited Gwadar personally and said when the government launched the project, he just went there with the money to invest.

Meanwhile, real estate prices in Dubai also started rising at the same time (when he made the investment in Gwadar). Still, he preferred Gwadar because he said it would be beneficial to the country.

“This is how I get rewarded for investing in the country. There are many others like me who have been left in the lurch. Who do we turn to?”

Sorce: The News

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