The Dilemma of Illegal Housing Societies in Islamabad

Pakistan’s population has been ballooning and has reached an explosive stage. With an increase in population, there also has been an increase in the demand for housing. With a lack of planning and regulation, the housing crisis has worsened with inadequate and illegal housing societies mushrooming in Islamabad. 

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Private societies and their legal status have become a bone of contention in the recent past. The government is taking steps to rectify the situation by closely monitoring the development work. brings you an overview of the illegal housing societies in Islamabad. 


Statistical Overview 


As per the Capital Development Authority (CDA) estimates, there are around 140 illegal housing societies in Islamabad. The civic authority issued a list stating that there are only 64 societies that are authorised. Upon further study by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), it was concluded that from a list of 64 approved societies, only 22 had a NOC. This brings the total number of legal housing societies to 10 of the total.

The figure below shows the percentage distribution of all housing schemes in Islamabad (by NOC). 


Source: CDA


Modalities and Procedures 


The government’s increasing focus on meeting housing needs has led the authorities to take active steps to provide housing facilities to the citizens. A dedicated regulatory regime administers the development in Zone-2, 4, and 5 of Islamabad. The CDA is the primary governing body overseeing the development process of the housing societies. The civic agency is responsible for the supervision of the Layout Plan (LOP), an inspection of quality and issuance of NOC along with several other requirements. The CDA allows authorities to take possession even if the primary applicant cannot timely provide details for registration. 

The registration process includes 19 major steps and 29 several intermediate steps. It takes on average two-and-a-half years for the NOC to be approved by the CDA. Once the NOC is approved, the development work can take up to 12 years; it can take as much as two decades for the development to conclude. 


Status of Housing Societies 


In the past 30 years, CDA had given 22 NOCs, covering only 6.8% of the total land available in  Zones 2, 4, and 5 of Islamabad. This suggests that there is huge potential for growth in the real estate sector of Pakistan. However, if illegal settlements are allowed to grow, people are going to lose trust in housing societies. 

The table below shows the status of housing societies in the Federal Capital: 


Source: CDA


Currently, around 99% of the illegal societies have not been completed. Due to unreliable and illegal societies, several people have lost their money amounting to almost PKR 5200 billion. The brunt of these nefarious activities is borne by the buyer and seller of plots. and the OADD Model, Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace, believes that the menace of illegal real estate property investments can be negated through a simple formula called OADD where O refers to ownership, A refers to approvals, D refers to demand and delivery. According to, “before investing, it is critical to verify that the land has been properly and completely acquired, and all necessary approvals have been processed”. Similarly, it is important to identify the needs of the citizens and then ensure the delivery of relevant and effective projects to allow the needs to be met. When a real estate property ticks all the boxes of OADD formula, chances are that it will be a safe and secure investment.

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