LAHORE: The Greater Iqbal Park project has missed yet another deadline as developers have failed to complete works in the stipulated timeframe, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was only able to partially inaugurate the park in December 2016 as work on the National History Museum, Heroes Gallery and Amphitheatre could not be completed.
Last year, the Punjab government announced that after the completion of all development works, the remaining portions of the Greater Iqbal Park would be inaugurated on August 14. Later, the project developer asked for more time to complete the final touches.
Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Director General Mian Shakeel Ahmad said development works of different sections of the project were still underway. Artisans were working on the fine details as there were various artefacts, monuments and paintings involved. He indicated the authority had already taken time till December from Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif as the project was of national significance and required greater attention.
According to the project contractor, government agencies, the National History Museum curator and the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) were paying great attention to the design and minute details of the project. He said relevant authorities were taking their time to select the marble and tile designs.
Ahmad added the government had announced the project would be inaugurated on August 14, but this deadline could not be met as the attention of officials was diverted towards Panamagate.
He said former premier Nawaz Sharif wanted to build a lake in the shape of the Pakistan map at the park. The lake has not been completed as of yet due to the rainy season. The Greater Iqbal Park is the only theme park in the country and is being developed around the history of Pakistan and the independence movement.
Traditional Mughal architectural design elements are being used everywhere, while four national memorial monuments have been built. The architecture of the food court gates has been designed to celebrate the history and culture of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.
It is being developed on an area of about 127 acres and comprises a circular garden, an existing 26-acre access road, 45 acres of Greater Iqbal Park/Guddi park and 56 acres of Minar-e-Pakistan. The conceptual design for the Greater Iqbal Park originated from the idea of creating a welcoming environment within the densely populated areas of the walled city and adjacent inner city.
The PHA has already completed detailed horticulture works in different section of the park, while development is still underway in some sections. Different colours of flowering species are being used in different sections of the park.
The project was originally envisioned in Fiscal Year 2013-14, but could not start due to the lack of funds. Initially, the government fixed June 30, 2016, as the deadline for its completion, but the park has been delayed for over a year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2017.