LAHORE: Lahore Division Commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbal has announced that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has agreed to inaugurate the Greater Iqbal Park on Saturday (December 17).
Addressing a meeting on Wednesday, Sumbal disclosed that the prime minister, along with Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, would jointly inaugurate the project. The relevant departments were making arrangements for formal inauguration of the project, he said.
The commissioner said Greater Iqbal Park was a project of national significance and complete in every respect. Sumbal added the government made strict security arrangements in and around the facility. The park had its own security system and was connected with the Lahore Safe City project.
The meeting was attended by the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Director General Mian Shakeel Ahmed, Additional Commissioner Usman Khan Khalid, Project Director Chaudhry Tahir Sultan and Habib Construction Services Managing Director Mukhtar Nazir.
Earlier, the government announced December 2, November 12 and November 9 as dates for the inauguration of the historic project. However, due to the pressing engagements of the prime minister inauguration was postponed. No the PM Office has confirmed December 17 as the date for the formal inauguration of the project.
The Greater Iqbal Park is the only thematic park in the country which was developed around the history of Pakistan and independence movement. Traditional Mughal architectural design elements are used everywhere in the park. Four national memorial monuments have been built. The design of the food court gates depicts the history and culture of all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir.
The PHA has completed detailed horticulture works at the historic park. Flowering species of different colours are used in different sections of the park. The project was originally envisioned in Fiscal Year 2013-14, but it could not get under way due to the lack of funds. The project was initiated in the previous fiscal year and the government had fixed June 30, 2016 as the deadline for its completion.
The Greater Iqbal Park is developed on an area of about 127 acres and comprises a circular garden and existing access road of about 26 acres, 45 acres of Guddi Park and 56 acres of Minar-e-Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2016.