More so than any other market, the Pakistani land market has encapsulated the term “caveat emptor” – or as it is more commonly known, “buyer beware”. Choked full of scams, frauds, and straightforward theft, this confusing and unregulated jungle has created many quick fortunes – and has deprived even more of their hard-earned savings. With the government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) unable to check these widespread scams the common man has to rely on reputations of individual developers to decide if their investments will bear fruit – unfortunately over the last decades even those reputations have proven to be hollow.

Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Eden Developers have been well reputed and quite active land developers, but the Eden Garden Housing Scheme scam has been a serious blot on their names. Families who have poured their life savings into the project have left without any recourse for nigh on a decade. This injustice is as grave as they come, but it is made even more glaring by the fact that the developers involved – especially DHA – has always sought to serve the country by developing well-planned housing projects and giving concessional rates to the families of serving and deceased soldiers. The Chief Justice of Pakistan – who has taken a suo moto action on the scam – was even more scathing with his criticism, saying that “It seems that you people [the DHA] run your business by using widows and martyrs as a shield, and you pocket royalties [in their name].”

It is time that this wrong is righted; it is appreciable that the Supreme Court has ordered the developers to compensate all the victims of the scam, but the time frame of 5 years is too much for those who have already waited a decade.

DHA and Eden Developers have the perfect opportunity of fixing this problem, providing relief to the affectees, and hence clearing this uncharacteristic blot from their name – they should take it while they can.