A decent home for every Pakistani
In Pakistan, currently 65% population is living in the rural areas and 35% population is living in the urban areas. Homes in rural areas are mostly made of mud and have flood and earthquake hazard risks. Whereas 50% of the housing stock in urban Pakistan is 30 years old and need to replaced by modern homes. 40 million people in Pakistan have no access to basic facilities like toilets in home. Many slum dwellings can be found in our major cities. People are living in houses without proper natural light or ventilation. Average room occupancy in Pakistan is alarming. In Europe 4 people are living in a home of 3 bedroom. But in Pakistan 4-5 people are living in every room. People are forced to live in shanty towns due to unaffordable housing.
In Pakistan, local development authorities have just made laws about height of buildings, but there is no law to ensure that new built homes are decent ones to live in. Pakistan needs to enforce decent home standards.
What are decent home standards?
Decent home standards are very famous in Europe and U.K., USA, Australia, Canada, etc. A decent home has the following characteristics
1- Homes should have natural ventilation
2- Home should have ample natural light
3- Home should have basic facilities of kitchen, toilet, shower area and separate bedroom & living room
4- Home should have basic facilities of electricity, gas and water
5- Structure of the home should be sound
6- Homes should have minimum sizes of different rooms
7- Home should have rooms that are not congested
8- Homes should have fire escape routes
9- Homes should have weather protection
10- Home should have no seepage of water, no short circuit of electricity and no leakage of gas
Decent home standards in Pakistan
A decent home is the basic right of every Pakistani. To achieve it we need to make laws to ensure that every home in Pakistan is a decent and livable home. This can be achieved in two steps. Firstly, government should make decent home laws. Government should ensure that new homes are built according to decent home standards. Secondly, government should start thorough survey to know the current condition of housing stock. Houses that don’t pass the decent home standard should be repaired or demolished to build new homes according to decent home standard. For that government of Pakistan can assist the owners of existing homes by providing decent home grants.