LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority has started issuing new documents at its Johar Town office with special security features for plot sale and title deeds in its housing developments.
An LDA spokesman told The Express Tribune that any documents issued for any sale or purchase of LDA-related property would be on this new secure paper which would protect buyers and sellers against forgery.
The paper includes several custom-made hidden security marks, a barcode and a watermark with a hologram and 3D images. The cost of the new paper will be adjusted in the buyer’s transaction fee.
“We have a fool proof arrangement, through which the Punjab Security Printing Press will issue the paper documents,” said the LDA spokesman. “A special cell has been created to oversee the paper’s handling and classified standard operating procedures put in place to combat any risk of foul play.”
The LDA said it was introducing the security paper due to “the consistent threat created by land mafias”. Critics say it will do nothing to stop the corruption within the LDA itself.
A property lawyer based in Lahore said the secure paper should have been introduced earlier. “The security improvements to the paper seem to be a good innovation. But for many it may be too late,” he said. “The root cause of counterfeiting or land-related disputes has been the failure on an administrative level to root out corruption, and secondly, manage property files. If the files go missing from the LDA’s record room, then there is very little protection security features will provide.”
He said forgery was rampant in land record cases because in many cases, there were multiple owners with ‘authentic’ title deeds.
“That is partly why property at the DHA and other schemes which have foolproof title documents has a much higher value,” he said. “In these sorts of property cases the goal is to get the dispute tied up in litigation, and once it is in the courts it is out of the LDA’s or the government’s hands.”