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Does Lahore really need a ‘Disneyland’?

Updated May 12, 2016 01:48pm

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The development cost for the world-class theme park and aquarium is even higher than the astronomical sum needed for the Metrobus projects. —Photo courtesy of Disneyland.com
The development cost for the world-class theme park and aquarium is even higher than the astronomical sum needed for the Metrobus projects. —Photo courtesy of Disneyland.com

It isn’t difficult to see why Pakistan hungers for entertainment. We are perpetually swamped with social, economic and security crises and get little respite. Even the highly anticipated international cricketing events have been taken away from us.

On the other hand, Pakistani television is the victim of a savage ratings game, where producers are unwilling to experiment with fresh programming ideas. In the morning, ridiculous talk shows are broadcast where both hosts and guests lack the skill and charisma required to create content worth watching.

The evenings are even more depressing. News channels offer the most mind-numbing programmes that quickly disintegrate into shouting contests, and our dramas recycle each other's material so relentlessly they should probably be given a Greenpeace award.

As a result, gardens, shopping malls and fast food joints are swarming with people during the weekends.

Also read: Lahore Disneyland-like facility to cost Rs36 billion

Like many others, I was a little stunned to learn that the Punjab government has signed a contract with a Chinese company named the ‘Golden Bean Industry Group’ to build a world-class theme park and aquarium in Lahore for a whopping private investment of 36 billion rupees. It is said that this park will boast rides as spectacular as those at Disneyland.

Certainly, such an agreement will create jobs and attract future businesses, all of which speaks well of the Punjab government’s vision of turning Lahore into a modern city.

Yet, there are some who question if a soulless theme park is really necessary in a country deprived of power, food, education and one that is also fast losing its heritage sites?

Others ask if it’s not more important to consider investing in the promotion of tourism in our northern areas which are breathtaking to behold.

Also read: Pakistani photo wins first place in Wiki Loves Earth contest 2015

Let’s be realistic. These attractions are created to serve the public, not to draw in tourists. Yes, modernising our northern areas will make them more attractive for visitors from overseas, but foreigners at the moment are keeping away, mainly because of security issues.

Moreover, modernising our northern areas will not affect the life of young city dwellers in Islamabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi looking for immediate gratification that a theme park would provide.

The most vocal complaints over the Lahore park are coming from affluent Pakistanis who can visit Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand or travel to Europe or the United States frequently. Well, this theme park is probably not being built for them anyway.

Pakistan comfortably boasts its share of private country clubs, theme parks and sports clubs, but the majority of these are too expensive for the average Pakistani to afford. Someone with a membership to a theme park told me he was glad it was expensive as it kept the ‘riffraff out’. The memberships here cost several thousand a month, while the initial fee stands on average at over Rs500,000.

This sort of elitism has started to affect our malls as well. Centaurus Mall in Islamabad introduced an entrance fee to shield itself from ‘Pindi boys’.

Also read: Islamabad's phobia of Pindi boys

On the other hand, public theme parks in Pakistan — affordable to middle class citizens — are disorganised, unhygienic, lack security and offer facilities that pale in comparison to private theme parks.

Judging by its record of the Metrobus project, we can only hope that the Punjab government is going to ensure that this private theme park is accessible to everyone.

Does the average citizen not deserve the same degree of entertainment as the affluent?

However, I am admittedly concerned about the company putting this together. Details on the Golden Bean Industry Group are difficult to find on the Internet. The other theme parks they have built in China, such as the Fantasy Park of Changchun city and Jiangnan Park of Jilin City, have little presence online, which is rare in this day and age. The project will apparently be completed in less than two years.

At this point, safety is my biggest concern. And with a track record of poor maintenance in projects across the country, we should stand firm, make sure our safety is taken into account and refuse to accept any more preventable deaths.

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Noman Ansari is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to several publications, including Images, and is currently working on his own fantasy novel.

He tweets @Pugnate.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.



Comments (143) Closed



irfan Nov 17, 2015 01:27pm

Yes it Does . Move on

MA Nov 17, 2015 01:33pm

No, first it should address the basic needs of a common man i.e. clean water, electricity. This should be across the whole Punjab and not only Lahore.

AsR Nov 17, 2015 01:34pm

If maintained properly, it can save billions which rich Pakistani spend during overseas tourism. My only concern is its location in Lahore. Why not build in a place like Pindi Battian, which is accessible easily through motorway from other big cities and give a boost to the economy of underdeveloped areas of province.

Md Omar Nov 17, 2015 01:34pm

We could all do with a Disneyland!

Shahzad Ikhlaq Nov 17, 2015 01:35pm

Yes, i agree with the author on this, instead of spending all this money here, let's build infrastructure and attract tourism to northern areas, that'll bring in more tourists and will help our economy revive at large and will also help boost living standard of people living in those areas.

Arif Nov 17, 2015 01:41pm

It really does not matter how much this entertainment house cost. As look as GOP is not investing any money then it is fine. GOP will get taxes from gate entry so there is nothing wrong with it.
I don't see any reason, why this park should be stopped.

ak Nov 17, 2015 01:47pm

No poor nation needs elitist game parks. Leave those for the west.

How many will be afford a trip to such a park when a whole day open ticket will run into 5000 PK rupees if not more, refreshments not included ??

Faisal Nov 17, 2015 01:48pm

Yes, Why not.

imtiaz Hydari Nov 17, 2015 02:01pm

What is the return on Investment? Pay back period? How many jobs will it create? Public or Private ownership?

Lets comment when we have some answers

karan Nov 17, 2015 02:03pm

If Dubai doesn't have a "disney world" like theme park and it has been doing fine with its business and tourism receipts then I doubt the need of the hour in Lahore is a theme park.

Better to spend that money on things that would make the life of an average Pakistani more bearable. We have Esselworld in Mumbai and I haven't been there in over a decade.

Haroon Nov 17, 2015 02:08pm

It is a private project. Government is not investing anything on it. So what is your problem with the private investment?. Kindly stop this criticism. You cannot dictate the private investors that how and where to invest. We should welcome every initiative of investment in Pakistan. It is undue criticism given that it is not a public project rather a private initiative.

AmArif Nov 17, 2015 02:11pm

I strong disagree with author's remark that "The most vocal complaints over the Lahore park are coming from affluent Pakistanis who can visit Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand or travel to Europe or the United States frequently."

There are many of us who have never been to these countries and still object on this project with misplaced priorities. Please don't marginalize us. Thanks.

Sarai Alamgir Nov 17, 2015 02:11pm

One of the biggest issue Pakistan has is, us Pakistanis, we are so negative in our approach, we think grass is always greener on the other side. Yes, Pakistan has many issues ranging from economy to security (but they are improving), but this does not mean we stop everything and not move ahead in other sectors. This was the same debate which happened when the metro bus opened in Lahore and Islamabad, but to keep up with the world especially our neighbourhood, we need to invest in projects like these and more. We need to get out of the mentality that if Westerners don't arrive in Pakistan, it will not work. We Pakistanis can sustain projects like these on our own, if this has not worked before, why cant we Pakistanis be the first to support our own tourism, economy and other ventures. Time to stop winging, and move on with things. Any development is a breath of fresh air considering the Zardari years.

gary Nov 17, 2015 02:31pm

@Arif No, only religious contents on TV only. Moral values should be the first priority.

Pakistani Nov 17, 2015 02:31pm

Our effete "democracy" is run on WHIMS of those in power- mostly nouveau-riches carrying a massive socio-psychological baggage of their own. Such people in power think that only grandiose schemes can provide them recognition and acceptance.

Leaders in China on the other hand, made their down and defeated nation imbibe frugal living to build them up to be counted almost a super-power in seven decades. They had VISION. What do our "leaders" have except foreign assets, big cars and their own family to worry about?

Kabeela Khan Nov 17, 2015 02:32pm

Lahore definitely need a Disneyland.

Whistle_Blower Nov 17, 2015 02:33pm

@Haroon "Like many others, I was a little stunned to learn that the Punjab government has signed a contract with a Chinese company named the ‘Golden Bean Industry Group’ to build a world-class theme park and aquarium in Lahore for a whopping 36 billion rupees. It is said that this park will boast rides as spectacular as those at Disneyland."

Its a public venture not a private one.

Asim Iqbal Nov 17, 2015 02:34pm

Well the Punjab Govt's priorities are badly misplaced. People here in Pakistan are dying of hunger and terrorism and these politicians are spending billions of rupees on such luxurious projects.

Zubair Nawaz Nov 17, 2015 02:34pm

First of all the process should be thoroughly transparent and information fully available to general public . Then the Chinese Company supposed to do the construction must be evaluated for expertise. I think we have more pressing requirements - quality education, health, population control, clean drinking water, extremism. These need to be fixed first and foremost. As the things are in the country, I suspect that there are local interests involved in the project. Some influential people will make billions from the project.

Pakistani Nov 17, 2015 02:35pm

Anokha Laadla.... Khailan mangay Chaand!!! That's all I can say!

Apache Nov 17, 2015 02:36pm

Lahore needs a sensible CM. period

Haroon Nov 17, 2015 02:37pm

@MA It is not a Public project. It is a Private Company's project. So you want Private companies to provide food and shelter first in under-developed regions and then they will be allowed to invest??. Or the government should stop every Private investment opportunities given poverty prevails in some region. ???

Dilectus Nov 17, 2015 02:41pm

If government is funding this project then there is absolutely no need for this project. This PML-N government has its priorities all messed up. 60% of Lahore, yes Lahore doesn't even drink clean water, not a single world class government hospital and we dream of such useless show off projects.

Abdulla Hussain Nov 17, 2015 02:49pm

Meeting basic requirements in a life long struggle, all efforts should be made to ease the existence of the underprivileged. However bring any good to Pakistan should not be discouraged. If the proposed DL comes to Pakistan it should be welcomed.

Aziz Nov 17, 2015 02:51pm

All these grandiose projects are based on what NS and cohorts think what the nation needs RATHER than what the nation actually WANTS- clean water, sanitation, education, and above all equitable opportunities for jobs and prosperity.

This is beyond the comprehension or the capability of our current rulers who will remain erratic, whimsical and egotistical in their power dispensations.

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 02:52pm

@Haroon

Well said bro.

If I private company from China wants to put their money into a project, that is their business.

It may create jobs for locals - or it may flop completely, in which case the Chinese will lose their investment.

I really do wish people would read and understand the backgrounds of articles before posting totally irrelevant comments on here.

Yes - we all know that Pakistan needs infrastructure, education, healthcare, electricity and so on. But why people wish to discuss those points via-a-vis a private investment being undertaken by a foreign company, is quite odd.

At the end of the day, a private firm (Foreign or Pakistani) will invest in projects that make economic sense to them.

Those that are not happy about this should not patronise the facility.

However, as no provincial or federal government resources are being utilised for this project, I fail to see why people would object to it - and it may actually create jobs and provide some tax revenue too.

timetostopthis Nov 17, 2015 02:53pm

This seems to be another poorly thought of government project. Surely the government focus should be on clean water, education, security, power and infrastructure, not theme parks!! Get your priorities right!

Strange Nov 17, 2015 02:54pm

No Justice, No water, No Hospital, No Eduction, No electricity ... yay, let's have fun as we don't have anything. On the ride, upside down on the joy ride, electricity goes off... what? how about generators... oh nooo, Patrol pumps stop selling the patrol last night because Patrol Mafia knew that patrol prices will be raised in couple of days...

KaKa Nov 17, 2015 02:57pm

Another gift to Pakistan after Metro. Looks Shahbaz is all set to.....

tariq Nov 17, 2015 02:59pm

Actually CM couldn't come up with any other stupid idea of wasting 36 billion,therefore, its a yes.

khan Nov 17, 2015 03:01pm

If it's foreign investment then let them do that but in parallel government should make efforts to bring investment on heath and education center

Riyadh Nov 17, 2015 03:02pm

No use of so much expensive theme parks. The said park will not be original disney. These funds should instead be spent on establishment of schools, colleges, universities and hospitals. This will give Pakistan educated children, and healthy people. First we should make Pakistan free of polio and than other things.

Nighat Nov 17, 2015 03:06pm

@Shahzad Ikhlaq

Tourism needs Security. It is the top most issue before any considerations can be given to infrastructure. Most Western tourist yearn for pristine nature and cleanliness above western amenities such as gym or jacuzzi which are present in abundance elsewhere.

While buying a train ticket at Pindi Train Station few year ago, I found out tourists get rebate which locals didn't have! Objection!!! In Europe it is the other way round, locals pay less and tourist more!

Juman Lasari Nov 17, 2015 03:08pm

Yes LHR need bcs it has been Takate Lahore Shahn shah city, metro, orange, Motor way, now D/Land, Political PM, Speaker, Railwy, Pak Cricket Captain all from Lahore, Karachi is suffering non-performance of Sindh govt, no water, eletric, Load shedding, tones of garbage every looks like Banana state, children dying in Methi Sindh.

Haroon Nov 17, 2015 03:12pm

@Whistle_Blower It seems hitting my head against the wall would be easy than to prove my point with fellow Pakistanis. Do you know for every investment the government has to approve that project. So in your eyes approval for the private investment means it is a Public project??. Obviously it includes MOU signing at first. But does this mean that Government owns those projects. Then the Answer is NO.

Shafqat shah Nov 17, 2015 03:14pm

@Haroon: what is discrimination please note Karachi generating 75%, our city look like village non-available any thing where you guy do generated and enjoy Metro, orange train from our Karachi Money. Please give us our shares NFC and than you do whatever u want to do with your share.

sheryaar Nov 17, 2015 03:19pm

@irfan how arrogant !!!

sheryaar Nov 17, 2015 03:22pm

as if poverty is finsihed from our country .. instaed of wasting our money to rebuild lahore which the govt think is only pakistan , we should use this money for clean water, eductaion and other sectors... but then again if people are educated , y will they vote for these dacoits?

Ijaz Nov 17, 2015 03:24pm

I guess any entertainment venue will be built with private money for private entertainment. If Lahore has no need of such a venue then the owners will soon find out when they go bust.

Aviv Arya Nov 17, 2015 03:24pm

Can it sustain? It costs lot of money to maintain...

Most of these theme parks depends on tourists from other countries... If Pakistan want to develope one, it should make a tourist friendly nation

Shafqat shah Nov 17, 2015 03:25pm

@Haroon : why luxuries project for private or Govt, why not invest in health care, education, water, hospital, electric, first priority. no need for these type of investment we have to pay back their profit in foreign currencies think about Sir. Pak have less FX presently.

Mohammad Iqbal Nov 17, 2015 03:25pm

10% KB comes to 3.6 billion. Baat samjha karo yaar. These guys are going in 2018 with all the KBs they got in several projects whose inauguration tapes cut by PM, CM all over Punjab and other provinces. It is none of their business if any project flop/spoiled/cancelled etc.,

Mahmood Nov 17, 2015 03:28pm

A no-brainer!

When the country is self-sufficient in Power, Clean Water, and environment is safe. When there is no fear about security, terrorism, or the Talibans. When quality education becomes available to all, and hospitals function adequately. When poverty is eradicated and literacy rate has improved.

Only then should we even think about choices of entertainment!

Jamal Nov 17, 2015 03:29pm

We absolutely do not need a Rs 36 billion theme park. Invest it into electricity generation project, education, hospitals, clean water, better security and so on.

SMI Nov 17, 2015 03:41pm

Yes but Government Should not spend they should invite private companies for this venture this will save lot of foreign exchange people will enjoy their vacation in their own country

Haroon Nov 17, 2015 03:42pm

@Shafqat shah Karachi is not generating but collecting Tax revenue on the behalf of the whole of Pakistan. KSE registers all big companies of Pakistan. So Kindly end this hegemony and end KSE and devolve all companies to the cities they belong to. Still 75 percent is an exaggerated figure with no factual evidence. Secondly read 18th amendment because that will help you. Thirdly Now Federal government transfers revenue to the provinces and for your kind information Sindh have a higher per capita budget than Punjab. Lastly it is a Private investment. So kindly ask Private investors that why they are selecting Lahore and not Karachi.

Anon Nov 17, 2015 03:48pm

A chinese company wants to come an invest in a big project here, which would create employment opportunities for 100s of people. Whats so bad about this?

Why does every single project has to be compared to alternatives. By this logic, we shouldn't build anything!

Adnan Aziz Nov 17, 2015 03:49pm

Absolutely criminal to even think of such a project.

How can our rulers forget the people's priorities. There are some fundamental questions here. Have the people affordable access to quality education, health, justice, transport, basic amenities like safe drinking water, electricity and sanitation etc., Do they enjoy an atmosphere where they cal live without fear ? My answer is a BIG "NO".

Then are our rulers living in a Fool's Paradise? I am sure they are.

Ask Chinese, our friends to build quality hospitals and educational institutions where the common man and his children can go. The Chinese might oblige.

Nighat Nov 17, 2015 03:50pm

This Theme Park should be a Pakistani Original and not Disneyland. The Chinese Company can build, however the Theme itself needs to be Pakistani. which must be organized locally.

The Punjab Government could set up an open Public Competition where all Pakistani Artists and Architects compete and come with their ideas and proposals, of original Themes projecting their country and culture.

There could be a Moghul Park with a replica of Taj Mahal and boat rides around the monument. Or Mohenjedaro or an Anarkali Tomb in which children mock-build a wall to enclose a dummy Anarkali figure.

Surely the 1001 Nights which had even inspired Walt Disney himself, would provide numerous ideas and attractions that not only entertain the local public but also bring tourists from all over the World to Pakistan.

Pakistani Nov 17, 2015 03:53pm

No, waste of money, waste of agricultural land, why not construct bridges in south Punjab

Shakil Nov 17, 2015 03:55pm

I am from Lahore and I think we should put a stop to any development in Lahore and focus on other cities in punjab to bring them at par with Lahore first

Ammar Nov 17, 2015 03:56pm

It is a good project... well done CM

Muhammed Ali Nov 17, 2015 03:58pm

More thrills for the rich..will Shabaz pay for this out of his OWN pocket? Feed the poor shabaz give them medicines give them clean drinking water not theme parks.

khurram Nov 17, 2015 03:59pm

"udging by its record of the Metrobus project, we can only hope that the Punjab government is going to ensure that the theme park is accessible to everyone. " so is Metrobus not accessible to everyone?

The Right Left Nov 17, 2015 03:59pm

Splendid..idea !!! All the starving and sick millions in this land can go on a ride and forget about the huger pans and their tuberculosis ! Perfect !

Adeel Nov 17, 2015 04:01pm

wow... thats really great Disney land for Lahore meanwhile for Karachi ... Sindhi Topi and Ajrak ?

Some times people of Karachi really and i mean really really wonder are we even part of Pakistan ? or every Govt has turned blind eye on 2 billion people and they are presumed DEAD!

Khwarezmi Nov 17, 2015 04:02pm

I bet the Shrif brothers will sell lot of steel now :-)

سے Shaam Nov 17, 2015 04:08pm

Every society rich or poor has it's posh and ghetto setups. No need to alarm oneself on Disneyland, it should be treated as a pride if anything else. A capitalist economy needs to stand-up to business World, else people are free to choose communist regimes.

Sharif Nov 17, 2015 04:14pm

@Riyadh I agree with Riyadh. NO waste of money of replica parks.

Noman Ansari Nov 17, 2015 04:14pm

@khurram Hi Khurram,

The original sentence was as follows: "If Metrobus is anything to go by, the Punjab government is going to ensure the theme park is accessible to everyone. "

Yes, Metrobus is accessible.

Umer Hamid Enam Nov 17, 2015 04:19pm

More projects more corruption , i think our people are due for this all they simply deserves it!

Asif Nov 17, 2015 04:19pm

Does our so-called "leaders" have brains at all? What on earth are they thinking? I urge all the Lahories to do demonstration everyday till this insane idea is dropped.

M. Malik Nov 17, 2015 04:36pm

Why be content with just a Disneyland?

Why not an Eiffel Tower, The Pyramids, The Great Wall of Punjab, a Golden Gate Bridge over Ravi or Wagah.

And if none of these boast anyone's ego.. a Burj Shariffa too!

Umar Nov 17, 2015 04:45pm

@AsR Simply say you are jealous of Lahore and hate this city. Lahore is home to 10 million people and also surrounded by big cities of Punjab like Faisalabad and Gujranwala. This theme park will generate more revenue in Lahore than that location you told.

JOOOP Nov 17, 2015 04:52pm

OMG most stupid idea of this century. rather building Disney land for the royalty and nobility try to provide bead and butter to the hungry child who are growing to be street beggars..OR better to server THAR kids who are dying in the laps of their mothers..OR make anything in memory of angels of APS.. but why this govt will do this because this govt has a mandate to spend all the money of whole country in LAHORE

Ms Lashari Nov 17, 2015 04:56pm

My heart weeps on this type of mentality that whole country is not important but a city only... rest of the provinces should not pay taxes..because their taxes are not giving any benefit to their children but their all money is just to be spent for JATI UMRA and its residents..

Lashari Nov 17, 2015 05:01pm

no need of such scheme at all Try to give good living standard Or at least provide them bread and butter.. i myself would love to donate a burger to the street beggar when buying for my own kid. one hand govt is proving lavish play land to rich kids and on other hand aloooot of kids are begging on the roads just to get food.. totally inhuman

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 05:07pm

@Haroon

I think you are the only sane person posting on this topic.

Rest of the keyboard warriors here just don't seem to get the fact that it is a PRIVATE INVESTMENT !!!!

And as you have pointed out a number of times already, a private company is in the business of getting a return on their investment.

Sadly, our Pakistani bretheren and sisteren are not able to see this - and unfortunately that is the problem in Pakistan; namely that people are not prepared to look into the facts - but will start dodgy rumours that are totally fabricated.

I say, if the Chinese want to spend this money in Pakistan - then let them. If it flops, that is their business. Whilst it is being built, it will definitely add to the local economy through work for locals, purchase of materials and so on.

However, I feel you will have to keep banging your head against a wall - because most of the 'educated' readers here aren't getting your point, so how can we expect the illiterate masses to understand.

Fazal safi Nov 17, 2015 05:16pm

Typical Pmln style, they make popular decision rather than right ones. Whatever criticism they face but at the end, voters will favor them.

pashtun Nov 17, 2015 05:17pm

who told you that common man want Disneyland. do you speak for common man?

Naseem Nov 17, 2015 05:19pm

Sheer madness. Government are not supposed to build theme parks, this is for the private sector. what a waste of public money.

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 05:21pm

@Whistle_Blower

You are sadly mistaken - when a foreign company (in this case from China) wants to do an infrastructure project outside its own country, it ALWAYS needs to get permission from the host (in this case the Punjab government).

That is why you have to get a Memo of Understanding in place with the relevant government.

For example, the MoU will stipulate things like opening hours, noise levels, working practices, tax arrangements, health and safety issues, sale of alcoholic beverages and so on.

If an MoU with the host is not in place, the developer could do whatever they like. For example, they could build a theme park that does not have any prayer or wudu facilities (as it is unlikely that such parks in China will have such items).

So the host government needs to lay down the conditions under which development can proceed.

Likewise, the developer also needs an MoU which is legally enforceable in order that their investment doesn't get seized illegally and so on.

Sadiq Cheema Nov 17, 2015 05:31pm

you are right. we should invest money in northern areas as compare to lahore theme park. and most important, we should give contract to our country's construction companies. why we're investing money on such entertainments which is almost not required right now in our country. we need security right now. you're right.

kashmiri.kashmiri3@gmail.com Nov 17, 2015 05:40pm

it is a sheer wastage of tax money...

Malik A. Khurshid Nov 17, 2015 05:45pm

@karan Fact correction: Dubai Park is set to open in 2016

http://www.thenational.ae/business/travel-tourism/dubai-parks-and-resorts-losses-widen-but-project-on-track

Afsar Nov 17, 2015 06:27pm

The idea of opening Disney Land in Lahore is good for imagination. Theme parks with roller coasters I can understand and should be opened in each province.

gul Nov 17, 2015 06:30pm

We should have a kind of disneyland....sure!

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 06:32pm

@kashmiri.kashmiri3@gmail.com

This is a PRIVATE investment - no tax money is being used here.

Hamza Khan Nov 17, 2015 06:43pm

Most readers do no get the basic point - This is Private investment - anyone can invest whatever they want. This is not tax payers money. The MOU is for the following purposes from the website of PBIT:

"According to the agreement Golden Bean Group (GBG) will establish and operate a world class amusement park in Lahore comprising of a theme park, five star hotel, shopping centre, water park, business centre, aquariums, roller coasters and indoor/outdoor rides. Government of the Punjab, PBIT and PHA will provide respective support and facilitation to the Golden Bean Group with regard to its efforts in establishment of the project. It was also agreed that Punjab Board of Investment and Trade will provide facilitation to Golden Bean pertaining to land buying, business to business meetings and in declaring the acquired piece of land for Them Park as Special Economic Zone (SEZ)."

Ashar Nov 17, 2015 06:43pm

@Tanweer Khan million dollar question. The source of money. If Chinese are building free for Pakistan. Then yes from my side. Pakistan should be thankful to China. Indeed China want to see stability and prosperity in Pakistan. But if the source of funding is Pakistani tax payer or loan then Pakistan has to look for priorities. Then definitely no.

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 06:59pm

@Ashar

It is a PRIVATELY funded investment by the Chinese.

There is no Pakistan tax payer money involved or a Pakistani loan or whatever.

Chinese companies are sitting on billions of US dollar cash piles that they need to invest into projects.

The Chinese are building this at their own expense, and will hope to generate revenue from people visiting it in order to cover their outlay and make a profit.

Why can't we Pakistanis just accept when the authorities do a 'potentially' good project - instead of making up false theories around it to ridicule them?

I don't care for any political party at all; be it PML-N, PPP or the PTI.

What I look at is from a cost-benefit perspective. This project costs Pakistan absolutely nothing, yet it will have many positive benefits (including tax revenues and jobs).

The Punjab government can use those tax revenues to invest in their own projects.

This is what is known as the MULTIPLIER effect in Economics.

Afsha Nov 17, 2015 07:23pm

@Tanweer Khan you nailed it. No more discussion.

Tanweer Khan Nov 17, 2015 07:46pm

@Afsha

Thanks

Azhar Ali Nov 17, 2015 07:51pm

I am still unable to understand the stratigy of this government, that what kind of development they want in Pakistan. I am 110 percent agree with Nouman and his thoughts.

Nash Nov 17, 2015 08:23pm

I am surprised private sector is willing to invest 36 billion of their money with an unknown Chinese company with hardly any track record. Also, who can ensure that this will not turn into another elite only club as well. Can the government not go into partnership with private sector to produce electricity or toll highways or invest in water pipelines etc. These are the basic needs. This shows the vision of our politicians.....provincial or federal.

Noman Ansari Nov 17, 2015 08:34pm

Hi guys,

The center of the article has been modified slightly to make it clear this is a private investment. Thank you guys for reading.

JAMIL Nov 17, 2015 08:52pm

Lahore is nice place easy reachable.

saeeds Nov 17, 2015 09:23pm

Yes we need park all over the Pakistan,Let the private parties build them and run and government provide with lands and Tax break. .

A.KHOJA Nov 17, 2015 11:08pm

When would we start thinking about making projects for the 90% of the population? How can a country where text message is cheaper than the loaf of bread afford to have such entertainments? Have we succeeded in providing Roti, Kapra,Makan , basic education , clean water and security to the masses that is comprised of more than 185 millions?

If yes, then, for sure we need such recreations !

Parvez Nov 17, 2015 11:24pm

When you don't have bread to eat....you can always eat cake.

Rocket Nov 17, 2015 11:34pm

@Zubair Nawaz For all those crying that we have other pressing matters such as education, clean water, security etc. Please note Punjab government has already under taken clean drinking water initiative, multiple power projects of approx. 10000MW are also under construction, highways motorways are also under construction which I say to naysayers forms the backbone of American economy, parha likha Punjab is putting more and more kids in school, security situation in Punjab is far better so why are you people so negative. The common folk need entertainment and would love to do something other than eating whenever they go out. This park will be subsidized for the poor to give them a taste of quality fun. It is important to mention that all projects being undertaken in Punjab including metro bus and rail are only for the benefit.of the poor.

flipflop Nov 17, 2015 11:40pm

We hardly have access to clean water, affordable food and housing, electricity and we are building a theme park. We can hardly maintain our current parks like joy lands, safari parks etc and expect to maintain this as well. all this is great but as long as there are people on the road, high illiteracy, poverty, desperation nothing will be successful in Pakistan. First fulfill the needs of people then help fulfilling the wants.

Barkhurdar Nov 18, 2015 12:01am

Firstly i say poverty should be tackled at the highest priority. Secondly the developments that are due to happen will help pakistan economy and bring some form of tourism to Pakistan. Like any other country Pakistan should stay ahead and for the people do what is best in their needs. This should take into account the affordability of Pakistans average person/s and not to highlight this for the Elite. I hope they take into consideration such matters for the well being of Pakistan. As a private investment this is a boost to Pakistan. All going well this will become a success in the near future. Infrastructure should be improved along with other social issues.

Iman Nov 18, 2015 01:02am

haha...this is a joke or what?

Mustafa Nov 18, 2015 01:16am

Why a theme park in Lahore? How about something outside Lahore for a change?

AG Nov 18, 2015 01:41am

PM, CM do you really think that these should be your priorities?

Nasser Nov 18, 2015 01:55am

Lahore needs a Disneyland as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Lahore and rest of Pakistan actually needs education and loads of it. Problem is the Sharifs and the Bhuttos need kick-backs.

shabut Nov 18, 2015 01:57am

Our people are just not ready for these kind of projects. We lack the education, discipline, and above all the civic responsibilities that are necessary to maintain and enjoy these kinds of mega projects.

kuttathi Nov 18, 2015 02:15am

In India we have a lot of amusement and water parks.My own state Kerala has got Wega land and a Water park.I had been to many disney lands and theme parks around the world. But I will tell you these are excellent and have a lot of facilities .A lot more affordable too.Pakistanis are welcome here.(There are no siva sena here).

RB Nov 18, 2015 02:38am

The Chinese will dump their crap and make money at the expense of Pakistan. Pakistan needs infrastructure not theme parks at this stage.

Salman Nov 18, 2015 02:39am

I just can not believe this, we have about 47% of Pakistani who can't afford to eat 2 times meal yet we are building Disneyland. It is just amazing, it can only happen in Pakistan, way to go!!!

kuttathi Nov 18, 2015 02:50am

What Pakistan needs is not Disney parks,but other amusement parks like in India.Pakistan's strength is its historic and geographic locations. If you restore the historical sites, tourism will improve.Another strength is the beaches and ports.

stevenson Nov 18, 2015 02:59am

@A.KHOJA Isn't the Metrobus for 90 % of the population who don't have cars and want low cost, reliable public transportation as advocated by developing agencies. The rich people don't care about Metrobus since only working class and poor people will enjoy Metrobus. Have you seen how such working class people are pleased with Metrobus in Lahore and Rawalpindi? Rich people will fly overseas to UAE or West for enjoyment and again middle class Pakistanis will go to amusement parks in their own country. Why should it bother anyone that a Chinese company wants to invest their money in Punjab. It will help boost tourism and Punjab government pays next to nothing. People need to think about all Pakistanis, especially those of us who not VIPs and use Metrobus and want to enjoy recreation in Pakistan. PS I don't live in Lahore at all but I enjoy going there for family amusement.

Muslim Medina Nov 18, 2015 03:34am

36 Billion rupees! Why spend so much on just boosting image of Lahore? The best way to spend this kind of money is to help people displaced by Natural Calamities. These people are in dire need of help and have suffered a lot.

shahid_K Nov 18, 2015 04:05am

It seems we cannot build anything. Motorway built by Turkey. Roads in in north built by Chinese. . The one built by local companies are so so substandard that it is pointed out by locals as built by Pakistani company. This present lot of politicians lacks vision and sense. Countries took on mega projects with their own engineers and other skilled labour, imagine if German Autobahn was built by the Japanese. Germans not only built those roads but created technologies and taught others how to do it, that same level of excellence and workmanship became their national characteristic.

BNS Nov 18, 2015 04:42am

If this is a private project, sure, go for it. Pakistanis are deprived of fun and entertainment. But a government investing in something like this does not make sense.

Muhammad Nov 18, 2015 04:59am

It should be o.k as long as build and maintain by private company without giving any money to Punjab Government (Leader who will put it into their account)

Qaisar Nov 18, 2015 05:46am

Request to all posters: Please stop referring to this park as Disneyland. Disneyland parks are owned by Walt Disney inc. and they have only a few parks in the world. This one is an amusement park and not all amusement parks are Disneyland.

Syed Nov 18, 2015 06:03am

I don't understand why everybody criticize any good work from anybody. If it is a private investment then let it go. we will get taxes and people will get jobs. I don't agree with author that average people cant afford it. Even in America not everybody can afford to see Disneyland or Disneyworld. At least parents try to take their kids once in their childhood. so please don't stop and let it go. entertainment is important to keep our kids away from extremism and politics.

Karachi Wala Nov 18, 2015 06:20am

Build everything in Lahore regardless of it is needed or not... Leave rest of the country screaming for Drinking Water and Power

haider Nov 18, 2015 07:20am

What about using this money to set up permanent free clinics in the rural areas including services of a female gynecologist and basic xray and ultrasound facilities so the poor don't have to travel all the way to the big cities

Kpk Nov 18, 2015 07:40am

@Nighat are you talking about Arab culture or Persian culture??

Agha Ata Nov 18, 2015 07:57am

I think it is too early. Let the power (electricity) and law and order be restored first.

Mustafa Baluch Nov 18, 2015 08:28am

Projects are developed based on needs. Evidently, the country's needs rest in the welfare of its people, the basic constituents of which derive from food, clothing and shelter. It wont go good for a country to have a world class theme park while the people living in the suburbs around it are dying in hunger. Moreover, a poor infrastructure wont be able to have the park stand for a long time.

Such a move is a sheer indication of stupidity on the part of government which is devoid of its priorities.

Mian Amir Hakim Nov 18, 2015 08:59am

What a strange place we have built for our selves to live. Nowhere on earth we find people criticizing an upcoming project for the reason of mere criticism. Don't the people of Pakistan or Lahore that is a mega city deserve happiness. And that too when the investment is coming from the private sector. Looks like though we are quite advanced in age since the country was born, we could not grow.

Mian Amir Hakim Nov 18, 2015 09:02am

@MA. So sorry. Before we criticize we must read the details. The Project is by the private sector investment.

Khalil Anwer Hassan Nov 18, 2015 09:59am

Intellect, imagination and aesthetics of our political managers is limited to make a Dubai out of Lahore. With the majority of our public staying below the poverty line, literacy and spending power remaining at abysmally low levels, public services almost non-existent, such projects serve the needs of only those with ill gotten wealth. Our priorities are grossly out of sync with the stark realities that Pakistan faces, as a whole. Pakistan Steel Mills requires much less for its renovation and revival than the proposed theme Park; so does PIA.

Saba Fahad Nov 18, 2015 10:00am

Projects like these are vsry essential so that people and go and unwind somewhere. And as the project is being completed on private investment, no one should complain. We complain about radicalism etc but unless you provide people with places to let go of their everyday problems and have fun ... wr will always have the problem of kids being attracted to something else. And someone commented that Dubai is doing well without disneyland ... well Dubai has many more things in its place if not better.

Anonymous Nov 18, 2015 10:06am

Yes please, keep going! (:

Ahmad Nov 18, 2015 10:26am

No. First, we have more pressing issues. It is like we have no food but we have to go to cinema even with empty belly.

rehan Nov 18, 2015 10:36am

We need schools and hospitals that are functional !

Ambition Nov 18, 2015 10:58am

It is an private investment, so whats wrong with that!!, Most people criticizing are politically influenced.

illawarrior Nov 18, 2015 11:40am

"Does the average citizen not deserve the same degree of entertainment as the affluent? " Are you serious? "Deserving" something is a very different issue to being able to pay for it. Of course affluent people have better entertainment. They also have better houses, better cars, better clothes, better holidays, go to better restaurants etc etc. The list is endless.

Asim Rizvi Nov 18, 2015 11:41am

Is this private investment foreign?

If its local, the money should have been spent on something more useful which, once can easily find outside lahore........

illawarrior Nov 18, 2015 11:45am

@karan You compare Pakistan with a population of 188 million with Dubai, which has only 2.4 million?

illawarrior Nov 18, 2015 11:49am

@Nighat If you saw the long queues at the US Disneyland and Disneyworld you might change your mind as to what western tourists want.

A.Khoja Nov 18, 2015 11:58am

@stevenson You are describing just a PART of Pakistan, but I am portraying the basic needs for a larger.... the WHOLE of Pakistan. Who is going to benefit financially from such amusement parks ...The middle class people ? Do you think metro bus facility is available in all the cities of Pakistan? Another step forward to increase the disparity between rich and poor. How can a small segment of the population can enjoy certain facilities while the rest of the majority has to run from pillar to post to make their ends meet? Is this justice ? PS. I , too, do not live in Lahore .

Nighat Nov 18, 2015 01:14pm

@Syed

Thank you for your insight! Yes, this project will create jobs, income and entertainment for locals, plus as it has already been pointed out, it is a private investment.

I would rather see the Pakistani middle class enjoy themselves in a Park with local Theme rather than go to McDonalds at Eid. Sadly I watch this take place every Eid in Karachi, when masses pilger out to Clifton Beach to eat unhealthy burgers that cause obesity.

McDonalds represents the Big Wide World for them. Instead they should be entertained and experience by their own culture.

Nighat Nov 18, 2015 02:06pm

@illawarrior

Thank you for pointing this out. However a western tourist does not need to come to Pakistan to see this or stand in queue.

They would only come to Pakistan to see something they can not find elsewhere. Plus we need to invent a spread out own culture and always feed on western culture. Don't we lack original cultural ideas? Aren't we competent of creating our own identity?

mahmud Nov 18, 2015 02:48pm

The theme park planned for Lahore will be a total failure as the turnover after a year will be very very low. Money of course will be made by the people sanctioning license, allotting land etc. Commercially a no go project in a poor country. Only some rich countries have theme parks like Disney land.

sijaz Nov 18, 2015 02:53pm

but I thought we had DHA already in Lahore?!!!

Tanweer Khan Nov 18, 2015 02:54pm

@haider

If you were the CEO of a PRIVATE INVESTMENT company based in China and your specialities are in building and operating theme parks, and you had lots of spare cash, what would you do?

I very much doubt you will be sitting in your office in Beijing or Shanghai and saying "let's use this money to set up permanent free clinics in the rural areas of Pakistan......".

More likely, you will be thinking "Where can I invest this money and hope to get a decent return for my shareholders? Where can I set up a theme park with little or no competition from other operators? Where will my company be welcome to build such a facility?...and so on".

The 'problems' that you have mentioned are for the Pakistan and/or Punjab government to deal with - they are NOT the responsibility of the a Chinese Private company to tackle.

Likewise, when a Pakistani company invests abroad, say in China, they do not take on board issues that the Chinese government needs to address for their own citizens.

Omar Nov 18, 2015 08:28pm

If the park is built from private investment, and is run for profit, u dont really have a say here. Or do you?

Hasan Tariq Nov 19, 2015 07:59am

How much money you have received from punjab government to write such apologetic article .All hails to you .The country where people are deprived of basic needs ,the contruction of theme park is unacceptable .

Arshad Nov 19, 2015 08:48am

As long as the public money is not involved, it is a great idea. This must not carry any Government of Punjab or Pakistan' guarantees.

NASR Nov 19, 2015 09:47am

The political dizziness can only call for Disney in Lahore

Waseem Nov 19, 2015 10:37am

I have seen Lahore and its people on the occasions like EID. People are desperate for finding entertainment opportunities. They stand in long lines for movie tickets which are usually sold out for the day. There is clearly lack of entertainment opportunities for people. While Pakistan need everything else people want, it also need opportunities for the entertainment.

To be continued- See the nest post.

Waseem Nov 19, 2015 10:38am

It totally agree with who ever said that a private investor should have all the rights to decide where he wants to invest. At the same time equal opportunity must be provided to all investors. One more thing we should realize is that a big theme park like Disney Land does not only attract local customers but it also attracts people from other regions and countries. In other words this will bring opportunity to boot the economy of the city and the state by promoting tourism. Income from the tax to city and state can be used to build what ever else is needed like hospital and schools. I must say that government and city should ensure that this park must provide certain proportion of free entry tickets to students from poor neighborhoods so that every one gets the opportunity of the entertainment.

Its time for Pakistan to wake and see the bigger picture with open mind.

Nighat Nov 19, 2015 11:18am

@mahmud

If Walt Disney would have been a pessimist like you, there would be no Disneyland!

iffi Nov 19, 2015 11:29am

big projects means big commissions nothing else, our current rulers are least interested in giving basic necessities to this poor nation...... there are here to serve there own families & cronies & there own fortunes are multiplying tremendously.....what a shame..

khanm Nov 19, 2015 04:55pm

what we really need is a person like Walt Disney... not Disney land... All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them....You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. Walt Disney

Zafar Ahmed Nov 19, 2015 08:30pm

@Waseem Under the prevailing security conditions in the country, no one will come to visit this park.

Akash Nov 19, 2015 11:49pm

good. Indians would have not to travel far for disneyland.