Punjab mulls amending law allowing overseas Pakistanis to easily buy, sell property

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DNA

The Punjab government is reportedly planning to amend a 116-year-old law, which will allow overseas Pakistanis to own and sell property in the country without having to face any legal complications.

Once these changes are made, foreign Pakistanis who wish to purchase or sell real estate can submit their statement for the sale deed directly to their embassy rather than travelling to Pakistan.

In the past, Pakistanis living abroad were required by Section 31 of the Registration Act 1908 to register their power of attorney and send it to Pakistan in order to purchase or sell real estate. The individual in Pakistan to whom the power of attorney was sent was considered to have the legal authority to do so in person.

Due to this antiquated law, Pakistanis living abroad had to deal with several legal issues while purchasing and selling real estate, occasionally even fraud.

For this, the Punjab’s government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) have joined hands to devise a system in which some MOFA officers at foreign embassies will be assigned the powers of sub-registrar.

Following the modification of Section 31(1) of the Registration Act 1908, immigrants must appear before the local commission officer designated by the Foreign Office at their respective embassy in order to purchase or sell any property in Pakistan.

On the other hand, the person buying or selling the property in Pakistan will be present in the sub-registrar’s office, where they will be verified through the NADRA system.

Sources said that this initiative of the Punjab government would save overseas Pakistanis millions of rupees in terms of time and travel expenses.