LAHORE: A large number of families from Lahore and its outskirts thronged the Governor House on Sunday as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government opened the building to the public.
Children, men, women and the elderly all gathered outside the Governor House even before 10am — the time the gates were to open. The public was allowed entry from the gate on Kashmir Road after checking the national identity card of the head of the family.
Provincial ministers Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan received people there. The public is allowed to visit the zoo, lake and other areas except the main building housing offices.
The ministers spent time with people, who also took selfies with the officials. Governor House employees were present to serve and guide the people.
Kamran, a government employee, from Mughalpura was visiting the Governor House with his four family members. “I worked at the Governor House in 1992 as a security official, but my family is visiting it for the first time,” he said. “The government’s decision to open state buildings to the public is increasing our trust in them.”
A bomb disposal squad official, Muhammad Ramzan, who was on duty from 8am to 5pm, complained about the public littering the historical premises.
Khursheed Ahmed, 65, from Sheikhupura interrupted and snubbed the official, saying the public was paying for the maintenance of the premises from its tax money. “As soon as I learnt about opening of the Governor House to the public, my wife and I decided to visit it on the first day,” he added.
An elderly Fatima Bibi, who was visiting the Governor House with her daughter and son-in-law, said they always heard that these offices belonged to the public, but no previous government allowed it to visit them.
Shanza Khalid, holding her son in her arms, said she was happy to visit the historical building and was the first person in her family to have come here. “The government is doing well by boosting public trust in them. We are personally monitoring where our tax money is being used,” she added.
People were seen enjoying and taking selfies. However, some families complained about inadequate facilities, including non-availability of toilets. The Governor House administration opened only one toilet near the gate for public use and there was no canteen to provide snacks to visitors.
Earlier, the administration had announced that visitors would be allowed to park their vehicles inside the premises, but they were directed to park around Alhamra hall on The Mall and Kashmir Road.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2018