ISLAMABAD: In order to implement its manifesto in true spirit, the federal government has constituted a 12-member committee which would decide the fate of heritage buildings including the Prime Minister House, Chief Minister and Governor Houses. However, the move has irked some officials residing in these sprawling properties.
PM Imran Khan had categorically stated that the palatial Prime Minister’s House, governor houses, chief minister houses and other huge buildings would be used for meaningful purposes once his party came to power.
The 12-member committee would be headed by National History and Literary Heritage Division Minister Shafqat Mahmood as its Chairman. Other members include renowned architect Nayyar Ali Dada (Lahore), artist Rashid Rana (Lahore), Businessman Shamoon Sultan (Karachi), architect/educator Omer Hassan (Lahore), scientist Dr Faisal Khan (Peshawar), retired civil servant Omer Khan Afridi (Peshawar) and designer Naeem Safi (Peshawar).
Moreover, Visual Artist Akram Dost Baloch (Quetta), educationist Muneeza Hashmi (Lahore), visual artist Adeela Suleman (Karachi), architect Samar Ali Khan (Karachi); heritage consultant Marvi Mazhar, Art Divvy Foundation Director Asma Rashid Khan and National History and Literary Heritage Division Secretary Engineer Amir Hassan were also made part of the committee.
The committee will review the buildings of the Prime Minister House, Governor Houses at Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Murree and Natiyagali, Chief Minister’s House in Peshawar, Chief Minister’s Office/Free Manson Hall in Lahore, State Guest Houses in Lahore and Karachi, Shahi Mahman Khana in Peshawar, Punjab House in Rawalpindi/Islamabad/Murree, Qasr-e-Naz in Karachi and Chamba House in Lahore. In addition, the documents showed that other heritage buildings may be added for review later.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier made it clear that he would not live in the Prime Minister House and preferred to live in his own Bani Gala residence; however, due to serious security reasons, he was eventually convinced to live in the military secretary’s three-bedroom house there.
Sources privy to the development told Pakistan Today that the prime minister’s austerity move has frustrated the top bureaucrats who were used to living in sprawling bungalows. They said that the chief secretaries, additional secretaries, inspector generals and political agents in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were living in huge and lavish houses; however, now they would have to vacate their residences and shift to smaller houses. They said although the process was yet to initiate, the anxiety among the top officials was evident. However, the irked officials would not be able to resist the move since the PM started austerity from his own self.
The sources said that the move could not only save huge amount to the national kitty but could also give a good message to the poverty-stricken and debt-ridden nation.