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LAHORE: The Punjab government has started considering the basics of turning the Murree’s Punjab House into a university and the Government House an international level hotel as was recently decided by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to official sources on Sunday, a committee comprising officials of the Board of Revenue, and communication, finance, youth affairs and tourism departments has been constituted to complete the spadework for turning the Punjab House into a university.

The Punjab House was built on 8.75 acres during the reign of former chief minister Manzoor Wattoo and has approximately 100 employees.

Situated at Pindi Point, at present it is under the Service and General Administration Department (S&GAD) and has been serving as an elite guest house for the provincial chief minister and other top officials. Million of rupees are spent on its periodical renovations, maintenance and staff salaries.

Officials said that initially the prime minister wanted to turn the Punjab House into an international level hotel. However, he later changed his decision and had now given a go ahead for establishing a varsity there.

They said the Punjab government, in pursuance of the prime minister’s decision, had also started deciding basics of turning the Government House at Murree’s Kashmir Point into a top quality hotel, to save millions of rupees spent on the maintenance of this colonial building.

It may be mentioned here that in its last days the former Punjab government led by Shahbaz Sharif had promulgated an ordinance to provide for the establishment of the University of Murree to impart higher education in geology, geography and forestry at the hill station.

Murree is the constituency of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the ordinance was promulgated just five days ahead of the completion of the provincial government’s five-year term on his demand.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019