Even though the capital has a public park in almost every sector, these spaces do not have much to offer. Most of these parks are not as equipped as they should be and the ones that have a play area are in dire need for restoration.
Japanese Park and Garden, located at foothills of Margallas next to Marghazar Zoo, used to be the most popular entertainment space for children that grew up in 90s. The park was constructed in 1985 with the help of Japanese government and served as a popular tourist and picnic spot, until about a decade ago. But due to lack of maintenance, the condition of swings and monkey bars deteriorated causing several accidents and injuries leading to fewer visitors.
Fortunately for Islamabad residents, the Japanese government decided to assist Capital Development Authority (CDA) in remodelling the park. On December 31, a ceremony was held at Japanese Park to inaugurate the revamped play land which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Inomata along with other dignitaries. In his opening speech, Inomata thanked the students and teachers, who took part in the ceremony despite the schools being closed for winter break.
“This park was a token of friendship gifted to Islamabad’s residents about three decades ago. Japanese engineers and technicians have reinstalled all the swings, monkey bars, slides and have added 32 new rides to the park,” the ambassador shared. “We hope that the park will serve its purpose for another 30 years to come,” he added.
Dressed in kimonos and Pakistani traditional dresses, students from different schools participated in the re-launch ceremony. The colourful ceremony opened with Pakistan and Japan’s national anthem, both sung by Pakistani students followed by a skit.
“Public parks and spaces are essential for health benefits and also have great economic and social importance. They provide a great opportunity for children to learn, communicate and share with their peers, built friendships and a stronger bond with their parents,” CDA Member Environment Mustafain Kazmi said. “The Japanese government donated 80 million yen for remodelling this park and it has re-opened for public today after three months,” he told The Express Tribune.
“My siblings and I spent almost every weekend at Japanese Park when we were in school,” shared Amir Rahim, a resident of federal capital. The park did not only have a variety of swings which were safe to play on but had lush green cherry blossom trees under which many people had picnics, he added. “I am really looking forward to taking my children to the remodelled park,” Rahim said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2016.