ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National History and Literary Heritage (NH&LH) Shafqat Mehmood on Monday constituted different committees for preparation of a detailed report on different state buildings in the main cities of the country and to submit it within two weeks.
The minister was chairing a meeting to figure out the best possible utilisation of important buildings of the country.
The meeting was held at NH&LH division and attended by Federal Secretary for NH&LH Division Engineer Aamir Hasan, Joint Secretary Syed Junaid Akhlaq and other members from different cities.
It was decided in the meeting that the committee members of their respective cities will visit these building and prepare a detailed report based on the number of employees, condition and historical significance of these buildings and come up with different suggestions to decide better utilisation of these buildings either for academic, cultural or any other constructive purpose.
The buildings so far identified for conversion into public friendly institutions like museums, hotels, cultural complexes or any research institutes included Prime Minister’s House, Islamabad, Governors Houses in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Murree and Nathia Gali, Chief Minister’s Office Lahore, State Guest House in Lahore and Karachi, Shahi Mahman Khana in Peshawar, Punjab House in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Murree, Qasr-e-Naz Karachi and Chamba House, Lahore.
Chairing the meeting, Federal Minister for NH&LH Division Shafqat Mehmood said that it is a state of urgency when the newly-elected government has to come up to the expectations of the public in the short time of 100 days.
“We have to give a message to the nation that we will not spend money on luxurious living. Converting these buildings into public-friendly institutions will help achieve the objectives of austerity as well as benefit the public for whom these institutions were established,” he said.
The federal minister directed the members to form a social media group linking all the members to share the daily progress of the given task.
Besides this, he said, an inventory of old, historical and under-utilised buildings across the country will also be made in the future to restore and utilise in a better way.
Shafqat Mehmood also said that the cultural institutions of Lok Virsa and Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) will be brought under the heritage division due to their relevance to this division.
The federal minister said that there are massive challenges on the educational fronts which the government has to address.
The major challenges, he said, include enrollment of 25 million out-of-school children, implementing of a national level syllabus to end discrimination, raising the standard of education and promotion of skill-based education.
He said that the present government is fully cognisant of its responsibilities and will bring huge reforms in the education sector.
The members of the formed committees include architect Nayyar Ali Dada, artist Rashid Rana, businessman Shamoon Sultan, architect/ educationist Omar Hassan, scientist Dr Faisal Khan, designer Naeem Safi, visual artist Akram Dost Baloch, visual artist Akram Dost Baloch, architect Samar Ali Khan, architect heritage consultant Marvi Mazhar and others.
These members will work as a team in their respective cities, visit the buildings and prepare a report which will be submitted to the federal minister in the next meeting.
During the meeting, the members appreciated the vision of the government as well as the steps being taken for utilising important buildings for general public and urged the minister to give legal cover to all these decisions so that no one can revert such decision in future.