Dearth of public parks irks Pindiites

Residents complain about overcrowding, lack of infrastructure in city’s existing recreational places

Jamil Mirza September 05, 2022
Representational Image


Already known for being a congested city, Rawalpindi, unlike its twin, the federal capital, does not have many public green spaces and the ones that exist are marred with issues like broken seats, malfunctioning lights, and piles of trash.

Home to some 2.1 million people, the city lacks parks which its populace can turn to for a stroll, an evening out with the family, or just simply to have a breath of fresh air.

Residents of Rawalpindi feel that the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) has failed to do its basic duty of maintaining and developing recreational areas.

Presently, four public parks, 47 community parks, and three under-construction parks fall under the PHA, all of which come with their own problems.

Muhammad Liaquat, Arshad Hussain, and Shabeer Ahmed, who reside nearby and were having their daily walk in Liaqat Bagh, the city’s largest park, identified stench as one problem.

“Although Liaqat Bagh is beautiful, there is a waste transfer station right next to it which makes staying in the park a miserable affair,” the three said, adding that the PHA should have done more to stop the establishment of a garbage dump next to the park.

Similarly, Zahid Mahmood, who was lazing around in Allama Iqbal Park, said that parks being overcrowded was another problem.

“Sometimes it feels like coming to a jalsa,” he remarked cheekily, pointing to the sheer number of people inside the park. Mahmood was of the view that the government should create more public places so that people can spend quality time here.

Another visitor at the recreational area, Akbar Malik, agreeing with Mahmood, said that having more parks would distribute the influx of people resulting in a peaceful time out instead of being suffocated. Having more green spaces in the city would improve the health of the city’s populace as well, pointed out Dr Zia-urRehman, a family physician based in Rawalpindi.

“Public parks are crucial for a healthy lifestyle. They provide fresh air and a nourishing environment, which is beneficial for humans,” he said. The physician, reiterating the stance of the city’s residents, implored the local government to establish more parks to accommodate the growing population.

Dr Muhammad Inayat, Additional Medical Superintendent Benazir Bhutto General Hospital, went one step further and said that parks were the fundamental right of citizens.

“A healthy and diseasefree life is a guarantee for those who regularly visit parks to walk and breathe in fresh air. So the city must provide more.”

Director PHA, Rawalpindi, Sheikh Tariq Mahmood, when asked about the establishment of more public spaces to accommodate the city’s population, replied that work was underway.

“The renovation of four major public parks, the creation of 47 community parks, and the construction of 3 new parks are all fully planned. A revised PC-1 has also been sent to the government. All the parks will be upgraded, decorated, and constructed upon receiving approval and sufficient funding,” the director told The Express Tribune.


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