ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has failed to set up the Gandhara Heritage and Culture and Convention Centre at the F-9 Citizen Club in the light of its board decision, as the building is still being used as a mass vaccination centre.

Officials told Dawn that last year the CDA board had decided to establish the centre in Citizen Club and sent a proposal to the federal cabinet which was approved. However, the civic agency is yet to take steps for establishing the centre.

The officials said that the Covid-19 vaccination centre was set up in the building last year and a couple of months ago it was given a six months’ extension. Therefore, until the vaccination centre is operational there, the CDA cannot start work on the establishment of the heritage centre.

Last year, CDA board decided to set up centre in F-9 Citizen Club; proposal approved by govt

“Now, we are waiting for the conclusion of the extended period of the vaccination centre. Once the club building is vacated, we will start work on the setting up of the heritage centre,” said an official of the CDA.

Last year, the then prime minister Imran Khan visited the Citizen Club building, which had been lying underutilised for years. He had formed a committee, comprising CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and architect Nayyar Ali Dada, to propose a viable utility plan for the building. This committee proposed setting up of the Gandhara Heritage Centre.

Spread over 22 acres with a 265,000 square feet covered area, the building has facilities such as restaurants, an indoor pool, gym, lobby, aerobic area and a fitness centre. The project was started by the CDA in 2008 but when the structure was completed, the Supreme Court in 2010 took up the matter and ruled that the building cannot be used as a club.

The CDA officials said the civic agency’s board had approved rules for the centre and decided that a board of governors will manage it. It was also decided that the citizens would have access to the facilities in the club and there will be no mandatory membership.

It had also decided that the centre may be used for holding conventions, exhibitions and provision of sports facilities, including a gym.

The officials said the civic agency wanted to shift the mass Covid-19 vaccination centre to the adjacent building of the CDA environment wing in F-9 Park. However, the plan could not be executed and in the meanwhile the vaccination centre got a six months’ extension.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022

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