Pakistan is a developing country where more than 60 percent of the population lives in rural areas and doesn’t have adequate facilities for everyday life. The population is increasing in Pakistan with the highest rate annually as compared to other Asian countries. This is the main reason that the government failed to provide adequate facilities to people. Despite huge government spending in education, health and infrastructure, there is still a big gap.

As population increases, it creates many other economic and governance issues. As per 2018 UN report, 63.3% percent of the population lives in rural areas of Pakistan. Urbanisation is observed in megacities, especially Lahore and Karachi, the two most populous cities of Pakistan. Due to this urbanisation, life of local dwellers is affected. Studies show that it happens due to poor governance and management of local authorities that also give birth to slum (not having proper houses, inadequate basic facilities, etc.)

Pakistan has been facing many political and economic issues for years ... one of them is urbanisation, especially in Lahore, that makes real estate prices skyrocket due to the intervention of many private investors who offer housing facilities to the public in the diversified locations of the city. Lahore city area has been increasing approximately twofold since the last decade and many luxurious or modernized housing societies have developed with rapid increase in population of the city which is now close to Karachi. People who have already owned the houses in urban areas now move to these areas somehow for better living standard. As per official record 1221 housing societies working in Lahore division out of which around 578 are illegal or unapproved and just 360 are approved remaining are under process that shows the trend of intra-migration and demand of change of living areas.

Due to the intervention of many private and public investors housing business is flourishing in the city and migration of people within a city is also increasing but many of these societies have inadequate basic facilities. Despite inadequate facilities, people are moving to those areas just to show their living standard as high as compared to the past. These new societies are still lacking those basic facilities which people had in their previous locality e.g. nonstop facility, Sui Gas, Electricity and nearby market (shopping and grocery) Access.

People move these areas just due to standard conscious behaviours and social psychology (by observing what their peers and people around them are doing) trend. Most of them are unable to afford the houses or plots in these societies but they applied thereby borrowing from financial institutions and from their informal sector (friends and family). These migrants’ behaviours give a boom to the prices of real estate in the Lahore as well as other megacities of the country. Good living standard and conditions are the right of everyone but we should first focus on the basics facilities instead of modern architecture or infrastructure of the area. After moving to these areas people complaints to the town planning mismanagement for not providing the basic facilities there but it’s not possible for them to give everything with the blink of eyes. It’s actually the responsibility of the society’s owners and their management to start residents after they get these facilities there.

Why are people going there thought they know about lack of facilities? The answer is, the recent infrastructure development of the city e.g. orange line train, metro bus service, and other road development makes real estate out of the reach of normal income group. Many under-rated residential areas are now become the investors’ favourite spots like  Samanabad Town, Mughalpura, Multan Road, Shalimar Town, etc.

People are now investing thereby taking properties for business purpose because these areas have all basic facilities which were mentioned above and became too crowded so people may secure their future by taking properties on new areas with the hope that those areas near future become another hot spot for the investor and people will get high prices of their properties in investment perspective which is originating new concept of “Cities within a City”. So government should monitor this intra-migration trend and start the crackdown against these investors who are running these unapproved societies and create the property hype in the city. Despite of making so many new societies town planner should focus on how efficiently and effectively they can use the already underdeveloped urban areas in division to make them modernized look.

 

The writer is doing PhD at College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China.