PM wants proposals to put Citizen Club building in good use

Published July 27, 2021
An official gestures as he escorts Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Citizen Club in F-9 Park on Monday. — White Star
An official gestures as he escorts Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Citizen Club in F-9 Park on Monday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday formed a two-member committee which would propose utility of the Citizen Club building in F-9 Park that has been lying unused since its construction.

The prime minister issued the directive during his visit to the building where he was briefed by Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and the club’s architect Nayyar Ali Dada.

Mr Khan asked the CDA chairman and Mr Dada to propose a viable utility plan of the building, which is spread over 22 acres with a 265,000 square feet covered area.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and Senator Faisal Javed also accompanied the prime minister during the visit.

Last year, the education ministry had expressed its interest in setting up a college in the building, but the civic body opposed the move by saying that the premises were not meant for an educational institution.

Asks CDA chairman, architect to come up with viable plan; plants sapling in F-9 Park

The building includes facilities such as restaurants, indoor pool, gym, lobby, aerobic area and a fitness centre. The project was started by CDA in 2008 and when the structure was completed, the Supreme Court in 2010 took up the case and stated that this building could not be used as a club.

“As a huge amount has already been spent [on the club] the CDA, with the approval of the federal government, instead of abandoning the project may utilise the building and other facilities for any public welfare project like a women’s university, medical/engineering college, science, technology or IT institution,” read the Supreme Court’s verdict of 2010.

Later, due to the said order, the project remained neglected for years, however, the CDA completed it a few years ago and the building now is ready for occupancy. As a temporary arrangement, the Islamabad administration also set up a Covid-19 vaccination centre in a portion of the building.

Meanwhile, sources said the CDA chairman and Nayyar Ali Dada held a preliminary meeting in which it was decided that there are chances that the building will be outsourced to make it self-sustained.

A concerned citizen said if the club was set up in the said building, the government should offer membership to common citizens as well, as Islamabad Club was almost a no-go area for common people and only bureaucrats and the elite managed to get its membership.

“The government should consider using this facility for the public and one of the solutions can be achieved by giving ownership to citizens of the capital city by involving them in the project. This will inculcate a sense of ownership among the people of the city,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister launched a nationwide monsoon tree plantation drive by planting a sapling in F-9 Park.

He said tree plantation under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project would increase the forest cover, adding that Pakistan faces the impending challenge of climate change and massive tree plantation was the solution to reverse the negative impact of environmental degradation.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021

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