–PM, President House to be converted into educational institutes
–Premier writes letter to governors, chief ministers in this regard
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a National Oversight Committee to oversee the progress on the conversion of state buildings and has decided to convert Government House and Punjab House to a boutique hotel and tourist complex respectively.
PM Khan himself will act as the chairman of the committee and its other members include Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mehmood, Secretary to the Prime Minister Muhammad Azam Khan, National History and Literary Heritage Division Secretary Engineer Aamir Hasan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Ministry of Housing and Works Secretary Imran Zeb Khan. Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training Secretary Arshad Mirza, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri and chief secretaries of all provinces will also be part of the committee.
The prime minister has approved adaptive re-use of state buildings which have a heritage value and has directed that they should be converted into useful centres. The Prime Minister House and President House will be converted into Institute of Higher Learning and Centre of Excellence respectively.
Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and HEC have been given the task to convert these buildings within three to five years. Similarly, the Government House at Kashmir Point in Murree would be converted into a boutique hotel and Punjab House at Pindi Point in Murree will be converted into a tourist complex within 45 days. The Punjab government would expedite the task through lease agreements after figuring out the legal formalities.
The Punjab government has been directed to convert Punjab House and Governor House (annexe) in Rawalpindi into Institute of Information Technology/IT Park within three months. The Governor House, Lahore building will also be used as a heritage museum and art gallery and its grounds and lawns will be opened to the public. The boundary walls will be replaced with a fence and various other facilities will be opened to the public at a nominal ticket. The Punjab government has also been tasked to convert the Free Masons Hall (CM Office), Lahore into a crafts museum or a conference centre within 200 days. The Chamba House, Lahore will be used as the new Governor House and the Ministry of Housing and Works would hand it over to the Punjab government for execution within 100 days. Directions were given regarding the conversion of State Guest House, Lahore into a five-star hotel by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within 100 days through lease granted via open bidding.
The federal government, in collaboration with the Sindh government, would convert the Governor House, Karachi into an arts and culture centre within three years, however, public activity spaces would be created there within 100 days. Ministry of Foreign Affairs may also lease out the State Guest House to the private sector within 100 days after completing legal formalities for its conversion into a high-end hotel.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has been directed to convert the Governor House, Peshawar into Tribal and National History Museum and to create a botanical garden and an art garden in its premises within three years. Governor House, Nathiagali would be leased out to the private sector for its conversion into a boutique hotel within 100 days.
The main building of Governor House, Quetta will be created into a museum within three months since there are no museums in the provincial capital. The annexe will be created into Ethnography Display Museums and the lawns and gardens would be converted into parks.
PM Khan also wrote a letter to governors, chief ministers and federal ministers and directed them to take action in this regard. He said that Pakistan’s total debt has soared to Rs30 trillion and Pakistan is already paying a lot of interest on the payments, therefore, it does not suit the government to adopt lavish lifestyles. He cited his own example of abandoning the PM House in favour of a more modest residence. PM Khan further said that the state buildings can be better utilised for the benefit of the general public. He advised all public office holders to take action on the agenda and said that he himself would be monitoring the progress through the National History and Literary Heritage Division.