The controversial sale of Housing project plots in Karimabad Hunza and community resistance
Some pieces of land measuring 21.5 kanal were acquired from local owners to construct a model housing colony in the less developed upper Karimabad area Daldas to address the growing housing pressure on the green farmland in Karimabad. It was under the guidance and directives of His Highness Prince Aga Khan who kindly agreeing with the TMS view, advised to do land banking and assured His support. It was on the request of TMS to address mushrooming of houses in a special meeting of TMS with His Highness on the sidelines of opening ceremony of restored Baltit Fort on 28 September 1996.
Soon the funds were made available with AKCSP and TMS activists and village eders persuaded the owners and purchased the identified land at throw away price in the name of His Highness’s guidance. The project was planned to be materialised jointly by TMS & AKCSP. AKCSP in its various asset declarations has earlier declared that the land is not its property and that it is to be transferred to TMS. However the project remained a non starter for two decades due to the exhuberant prices and faulty policies of AKCSP. Now without taking TMS and community into confidence, AKCSP has decided to sell out plots unilaterly and grab the funds bestowed by His Highness to Karimabad along with huge profits.
On ground not only that the physical environment has degraded due to the apathy and absence of design and planning mechanism, there are many families in Karimabad who have rendered landless and need housing shelter.
AKCS (a not for profit company) is selling land @ Rs 2 million per kanal that has been acquired for Rs 80 thousand. The fund is revolving to be reinvested on further housing. AKCS is a facilitaor not a business venture.
How can the simple landowners be satisfied who provided desirable land for a larger social cause. What is the logic that can make face saving and protect the integrity of those comminty leaders who persuaded the land owners to provide land in the name of Imam’s vision and guidance. Hunza has its clerly defined customay laws for sale of land. The irony is its violation at institutional level that tends to jeopardize the survival of local community.