Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Karachi's Bahria Town Private City is Bigger Than San Francisco

Karachi's Bahria Town being built on the outskirts of Pakistan's financial capital is among the world's largest privately developed and managed cities.  It is spread over an area of a little over 70 square miles, larger than the 49 square miles area of San Francisco. When completed, Bahria Town will house over a million people, more than the entire population of San Francisco.

Bahria Town Karachi
The city comes complete with private roads, community parks, mosques, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, libraries, business parks, restaurants, recreation facilities, sports grounds, shopping malls etc. It has been the subject of litigation by local  villagers who claim that their land was unlawfully taken away from them to build this new city. Pakistan Supreme Court recently reviewed their cases and forced a settlement worth Rs. 406 billion to be paid by Bahria Town developer named Malik Riaz Hussain.

Bahria Town and other similar private cities and gated communities are popular with Pakistan's rising middle class. They are looking to escape the chaos of the nation's burgeoning cities unable to cope with the massive and uncontrolled waves of urbanization. The issues facing Pakistani cities range from lack of basic services to rising urban crime.

The private city promises to “turn the vision of modern Pakistan into a reality”, with private and secure supplies of water, gas and electricity, garbage collection as well as private security and well maintained wide tree-lined roads.

In a recent article published by India's Scroll.in, Samira Shackle argues that "the reason a privatized city is so much quicker and easier to build is not down to the inherent superiority of the free market, but because it removes power from people and communities and centralizes it into the hands of one person or corporation". "This is the same dynamic at play in China, for example, where the nominally communist government has been able to build vast new towns and cities from scratch because it doesn’t have to worry about eminent domain or democratic accountability", Shackle explains.

As of 2016, the real estate developers had built over 250 gated communities across Pakistan. Hundreds more are being developed in response to rising demand from upwardly mobile Pakistanis.

Eden Housing Gated Community in Lahore, Pakistan


These communities cater to insatiable demand for world-class and well-appointed housing with modern infrastructure including well-built wide roads and reliable supply of water and electricity. Additionally, they offer various state-of-the-art amenities such as schools, hospitals, mosques, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and parks located within secure communities, according to a report by Adrian Bishop, editor of Opp.Today.

Gated communities are being offered at multiple price points and payment plans that suit not just the rich but the middle class buyers as well. They offer condos (flats), townhouses and single-family homes on lot sizes ranging from 125 square yards to  2000 square yards. These communities are fueling a construction boom in Pakistan.

Defense Housing Authority (DHA), Bahria Town (Malik Riaz), Eden Housing (Aleem Khan), Emaar Properties (of UAE) and Ghurair-Giga (of UAE) are among the biggest developers of gated communities in Pakistan.

Bahria Town Islamabad


In addition to major Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, new gated communities are being developed in second and third tier cities as well. Recently, Bahria Town announced its newest development of a gated community in Nawabshah, a city of just over a million residents in southern Sindh province.

Here's an excerpt of a 2013 AFP report on Bahria Town gated community in Islamabad:

Cars glide softly over the smooth tarmac carpeting the gentle hills of Pakistan’s largest gated community, past immaculate green verges dotted with statues of cattle — which, unlike their real counterparts elsewhere in the country, pose no threat to traffic. 

There’s a horse riding centre, a golf course, a posh cinema, an immaculately air-conditioned cafĂ© and a mini zoo with “the only black panther in Pakistan”, whose growling excites young couples taking a walk. 

Elsewhere 20 metre models of the Eiffel Tower and Nelson’s Column — complete with lions — watch over this vision of suburbia which seems a world away from the rest of Pakistan’s seething, traffic-choked and crumbling cities.

https://youtu.be/ZvKOCZuZAiM

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Gated Communities in Pakistan

Urban Middle Class Growth in Pakistan

Sohail Warraich on Rise of Pakistani Middle Class

Pakistan's Rising Middle Class

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

 DHA Karachi Green City

Emaar Crescent Bay Karachi

Pakistani Construction Boom


4 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Why is the #Pakistan media silent about #MalikRiaz whose family purchased Hyde Park #London property from a son of ex PM #NawazSharif ? This is the largest such settlement by British crime agency. #Corruption #MalikRiazSettlementStory @TRTWorld https://www.trtworld.com/asia/why-is-the-pakistani-media-silent-about-this-real-estate-tycoon-32052

Malik Riaz has paid $250 million as part of a settlement with Britain’s money laundering investigating agency.
Most news anchors won’t speak his name during their programmes. A guest in a talk show was muted every time he mentioned his name. Mainstream newspapers ran cautious stories. Forget opinions and investigative features.

The story is about Malik Riaz, a Pakistani real estate tycoon, who just paid $250 million in a settlement and officials don’t want to discuss it.

On December 3, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said it had reached a settlement with Riaz and his family as part of a year-long fraud investigation.

The money, which was confiscated from bank accounts and an expensive London mansion overlooking Hyde Park, will be transferred to the Pakistani government, the NCA said.

Riaz’s family had purchased the Hyde Park property from Hassan Nawaz, a son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who himself faces a corruption enquiry.

This is the largest such settlement since the NCA’s mandate was updated two years ago to investigate money trail of people who might have acquired wealth from illegal means.

Bahria Town, Riaz’s company, is perhaps the largest real estate developer in Pakistan. He has built housing complexes, apartment buildings and golf courses in lavish developments that come with miniature copies of the Pyramids and amusement parks.

The Pakistan government has refused to divulge details about the settlement, saying it has been reached under a confidentiality agreement.

Riaz himself tried to spin the story by saying he’s simply bringing back money kept in foreign accounts, saying he has sold the property.

He didn’t say that the NCA was investigated him and the assets had been confiscated.

In August, the NCA froze bank accounts containing more than $150 million, which were suspected to be profits linked to kickbacks and bribes. Those accounts belonged to Malik Riaz.

Earlier this year, Riaz agreed to pay the Pakistani state around $2 billion to settle a case, which involved the illegal occupation of thousands of acres of land in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi.

At the time, people had questioned how a businessman with little exposure to foreign markets had come to acquire such vast wealth in a country, which has time and again approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailouts.

“No one is developing real estate property like he does. Even his critics would want to go and live in his housing projects,” says a Karachi-based builder, who asked not to be named.

“There is an increasing dearth of homes in cities while the population is expanding rapidly. Young people are moving out of their parents’ home, siblings who once lived together in combined families, now want their own places. Malik Riaz has simply tapped this market on a grand scale.”

But Bahria Town faces accusations of manipulating land records and forcibly evicting people from their villages on the city outskirts to make way for its projects.

Riaz, a major advertising spender, has an outsized influence over media houses, which block coverage critical of the real estate tycoon.

“You can report on powerful military and extension issues of its commander but not Malik Riaz. You can imagine his influence,” a reporter told TRT World.

Bahria Town’s projects, which include thousands of residential and commercial properties, have also become a way for high-yield chasing investors to make quick money.

Thousands flocked to the Bahria Town offices when he announced a new project, trying to buy property documents, which are later sold at many times their face value on the underground market.

Riaz Haq said...

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Before zeroing in on Emaar Panorama Karachi, permit us to take you there through Emaar Crescent Bay, which is situated next to the water, right at the border of DHA Phase 8. The area is just one of the hotspots of Karachi . The famed food street known as Do Darya is only 5 minutes’ drive away in addition to the DHA Golf Club.


https://medium.com/@dandriyalritik/emaar-panorama-residences-at-karachi-pakistan-8eaa294aa233


It will also be just steps from the shore and the waterfront promenade, once Panorama Tower is finished. Additionally it is to some of the schools and hospitals in the city, making the place of Emaar Panorama Karachi convenient for residents. You could even shop for all of your essentials at Dolmen Mall, Clifton 10 minutes’ drive off — that has a branch of Carrefour, which makes it much easier.
Emaar Panorama Karachi Features
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Gated Community
24/7 Security & CCTV Surveillance
Card-controlled Access for Vehicles & Pedestrians
Infinity Swimming Pool
Kids’ Play & Party Areas

Riaz Haq said...

#Dubai-like modern city to be developed over 100,000 acres near #Lahore, #Pakistan along #Ravi. Private sector investment of Rs5 trillion expected to resolve traffic congestion, water shortage and environmental pollution in Lahore – a city of 11 million. https://gn24.ae/a26c4f0931fd000

The Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province has a grand vision for the development of the province as he plans to build a “Dubai-like” modern city near Lahore.

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan headed a meeting of Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RRUDP) in Lahore and directed Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to prepare an integrated plan to meet the challenges of clean drinking water and unplanned construction.

Last year, PM Imran Khan sharing his new vision for future urban development, encouraged vertical construction to “allow for more green spaces as Pakistan is one of the most environmentally-threatened countries”. He also argued that “arable land is being eaten up by housing societies and has grave consequences for our food security in the future” which is why it is significant to allow buildings “to go as high as in other cities across the world” keeping in view international safety standards.

What environmentalists say?
Dr. Masoud Arshad, Senior Director, Water, Food and Climate at WWF-Pakistan, fears the new project along the River Ravi, could “put additional pressure on the existing natural resources and lead to shortage of underground water resources in near future”. He encouraged policymakers to focus on sustainable development. “We should study and implement the ‘Room for River approach’ as “the floodplain of the River Ravi should be kept intact to address the issues of floods (impacts of climate change) and to recharge our lost aquifers” he told Gulf News.

Ravi Riverfront Urban Development project
The project was originally envisioned in 2013 and Meinhardt (Pakistan) – part of global consultancy firm working in the country since 1992 – was hired to lead the consortium to conduct the feasibility study. “The environmental and social impact assessment highlighted the positive impacts of the project such as economic uplifting of the region and country, improved quality of life, socioeconomic and lifestyle enhancement, ecological uplifting of River Ravi, sustainable lifestyle, tourism and flood protection” according to Meinhardt Group. Some of the negative impacts, according to the firm, include loss of agricultural lands of about 76,684 acres and impact on almost 65 settlements that include a population of 80,000, but “these are expected to be temporary in nature and can be mitigated.” The group suggested a public-private-partnership model for project implementation and management.

Rehabilitate the Ravi River
The project of the new city to be built on the banks of the Ravi River proposed to rehabilitate and develop the dying River Ravi into a perennial freshwater body. To make Ravi riverfront urban development successful and sustainable, it was suggested that careful measures should be undertaken “to maintain the river’s water flow at a certain level, alleviate flooding and improve the river water quality through river training construction of barrages, weirs and water bodies to temporarily store excess surface water, and the introduction of wastewater treatment” to prevent the discharge of raw wastewater into the Ravi River.

Unknown said...

We don't care

The Pakistani government doesn't do anything and the private sector and military is taking the development of Pakistan in their own hands

For example all of Mirpur is made by Pakistanis in britain

Sorry but democracy fails in our lands

This is only way Pakistan can turn into dubai