Rawalpindi: Housing shortage, unjust rents aggravate miseries of tribal migrants

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Migrants from restive area of Swat continue to arrive in the twin cities where they are no more welcome guests, as housing shortage and absence of any tentage village are pushing them into troubled waters.

Armed clashes between the security forces and Taliban in the scenic Swat valley have been causing continuous migration of the local people to the twin cities. Many of them these days are seen knocking at the doors in search of vacant houses especially in Ghauri Town, Pirwadhai, Khanna and Bhara Kahu. With number of migrants increasing continuously, the local owners seem to be conscious over whereabouts of the migrants and most of them are rejecting the offers by property dealers to avoid any kind of complications, which may prop up while giving their houses to unknown people. “Many property dealers have so far contacted me for a vacant portion of my house, but I am still reluctant to accommodate unknown people belonging to the Swat valley, said Fakharuddin, a resident of Asghar Mall scheme. He said every one is conscious now-a-days because there are so many complications in providing houses on rent to unknown people keeping in view the uncertain law and order situation of the country.

The housing shortage and reluctance on the part of the local owners are increasing the miseries of the internally displaced persons who have left their property and livelihood to lead a peaceful life away from their troubled hometowns.

The property dealers who are trying their best to find out residential units for internally displaced families are of the view that local owners must realise the sufferings of their fellow countrymen otherwise there is no alternative residential arrangements to these displaced people.

Most of the owners are either refusing to provide residential units or demanding unjust rents, which is quite regretful because we must show some kind of courtesy to people who have lost their property and even source of livelihood, said Inayat Hussain, a property dealer in Satellite Town.

The outskirts of the twin cities are becoming the target of the migrants, but availability of limited number of residential units there is not serving the purpose.

Whenever I return back from my office, I see number of families making rounds in the area to get houses on rent, but I don’t think there are enough houses to accommodate all of them,” said Shahid Raja, a resident of Ghauri Town. There is a dire need to set up temporary shelters or tentage villages in the twin cities for thousands of internally displaced people who are looking for help by the concerned authorities.

Various non-governmental organisations are also highlighting the issues confronting these people and a documentary prepared by Samar Minallah titled Homeless at Home some time back was a remarkable effort to let other people know about the plight of the internally displaced people.

When contacted, Rawalpindi District Nazim Raja Javed Ikhlas told The News that there is no plan to set up any tentage village for internally displaced people, arguing that they can easily take shelter at the houses of their near and dear ones. But when we see the plight of these people who are struggling in severe weather conditions then it is certainly difficult to believe that all of them have their near and dear ones in the twin cities who can provide them shelter.

The concerned authorities must show some kind of active approach instead of relying on the hypothesis that all is well when all is certainly not well.

Source: The News

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Rawalpindi: Housing shortage, unjust rents aggravate miseries of tribal migrants
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