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The forest department rest house in Bhurban. — Dawn
The forest department rest house in Bhurban. — Dawn

MURREE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Sunday announced the opening of the governor house in Bhurban to the public.

However, after the announcement he was informed that the building was a forest department rest house, not a governor house.

When the governor made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, he was informed by the forest department officials that the building he had announced open to the public was actually a rest house.

A source in the forest department said the governor then called the secretary of the forest department and told him that he had made the announcement on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

But the secretary also confirmed that the building was a rest house of the forest department.

The forest house at Bhurban was constructed in 1909 for the residence of high ranking officials mainly from the forest department.

It served as the rest house till 2002 when the then Punjab governor retired Gen Khalid Maqbool acquired it as the governor’s annex.

But in 2013, on the direction of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a frequent visitor to the rest house,the Punjab government issued a notification restoring the status of the forest rest house.

This was stated by Divisional Forest Officer Raza Sheikh while talking to Dawn.

Mr Sheikh explained that under the Punjab Forest Act 2009, forest land cannot be used for any other purpose, adding the rest house cannot be converted into a governor house.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018