ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that the provision of durable and low-cost housing units for the lower and middle-income groups of society can be ensured by bringing into use vast swathes of land lying idle in the surroundings of major cities for the construction of high-rise buildings.

The Prime Minister expressed these views in a meeting with a delegation of Turkish construction company at the Prime Minister’ Office on Friday.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan needed to learn from Turkey’s rich experience in construction and housing sectors as the country has built 600,000 low-cost housing units for the middle-income groups during the last 10 years to overcome the housing units’ shortage.

The Prime Minister pointed out that vast swathes of land was lying idle in the environs of major cities and added that it could be brought into effective use by building high-risers to overcome the acute shortage of housing units in Pakistan’s urban centres.

He further said that houses and apartments built under this scheme could be made available to the lower income people at subsidised rates and to the middle-income groups on their actual cost. Further elaborating the idea, the Prime Minister observed that both sides of the Islamabad Expressway could be utilised for the purpose.

Underlining the need of overcoming housing units’ shortage in urban centres, the Prime Minister said that self-sufficient and self-contained housing colonies be built in the suburban areas of those centres connecting them with the city centres with the help of fast transportation system.

The Prime Minister said that local architectural designs given preference in order to give local touch to the architecture.

Ahmed Albayrak, head of the Turkish delegation, said that both Turkey and Pakistan are friendly countries and also alluded to Tahreek Khilafat of the early 20th century, which the Muslims of the subcontinent had launched in favour of their Turk brethren. Albayrak added that Turkey has a rich experience in the field of housing and this they are all ready to share with their Pakistani brethren.