Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is all set to convert the Prime Minister’s House into a prestigious state-of-the-art university, in line with the top education needs of today.
Similarly, plans are afoot to turn many luxury state buildings and offices into museums, five-star hotels and tourist resorts.
The Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training, Shafqat Mehmood, while addressing a press conference on Thursday, announced that considering the annual expenditure of the PM House — Rs470 million — the government has decided to turn the residence into a high quality university.
This was among Prime Minister Imran Khan’s election promises and included in the PTI party’s manifesto before the July 25 election, said Mehmood, adding that necessary alterations would be made and additional construction carried out, if needed, on the land adjacent the PM house.
Mehmood, who heads the committee formed to decide how government-owned buildings can be utilised in public interest, is fully in favour of the PM House becoming a top university or institution offering unique education.
In his very first address to the nation, Prime Minister Khan had expressed his wish for the PM House to be converted into a university, while he resides in a more modest three-bedroom house.
Turning luxury into revenue
The government’s much touted austerity drive decided that millions of rupees could be saved by converting government luxury properties into public parks, hotels or resorts.
Mehmood announced that the Government House in Murree, on which the Punjab government had spent Rs600 million recently, will be transformed into a ‘heritage boutique hotel’.
The toilet commodes in that building’s bathrooms are gold-plated, he noted, adding that property’s maintenance alone cost Rs35 million every year.
Similarly, Rs25 million is spent annually on the Punjab House in Murree and now the government has decided to turn it into a tourist resort.
The Punjab and Sindh governors have already announced opening their respective residences — or Governor’s Houses — for the public to visit during the daytime.
The Governor’s House in Lahore, spread over a large area, has schools and vocational training institutes located on its compound. The residence itself will be converted into a museum and art gallery.
Its grounds will remain open to the public as a park, including a small zoo.
Similarly, the Sindh Governor’s House in Karachi will be converted into a museum, and its park remain open to public.
The Punjab chief minister had used 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-i-Azam in Lahore as one of his offices. With its annual maintenance costing Rs80 million, Mehmood noted that it will also converted into a craft museum and convention centre, to be rented out for events.
Chanda House in Lahore will be turned into Governor’s Office, as an alternative to the current Governor’s House.