The women of Peshawar will soon have a new ground to walk on as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced that they will transform Governor House into a park for them.
The party’s chairman said the historical Balahisar Fort, Central Jail Peshawar and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s 32 rest houses will also be converted into public spaces.
While speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Green Growth Initiative held at the Pakistan Forest Institute on Sunday, Imran Khan said in order to promote tourism in the province, new tourist spots will also be built. Money generated from these locations will then be injected into health and education sectors of the province, so that the public can accrue all benefits of the revenue stream.
Khan claimed forests in the region had been cut down ‘mercilessly’ in the past, adversely affecting the environment, including an increase in air and water pollution and the erosion of land.
“Deforestation plays a contributing factor in causing natural calamities, air and water pollution. In an effort to reverse these effects, which pose a serious threat to our environment, we will plant trees, across 37,000 acres of land,” said the MNA. He also revealed that the provincial government will also create national parks in various districts of the province which will accompany a ban on the cutting of trees and the use of plastic bags.
Later in his address, the PTI chief also revealed that Google Earth will be utilised as a monitoring tool for the national parks, whereas the provincial government will engage in tourism promotion to attract visitors from all across the globe, urging people to contribute to the province’s newly found green initiative. In an ultimatum to the land mafia and those involved in deforestation, Khan said those who persist with such illegal activities will have to face the music.
Going into details, Imran Khan said the Frontier Corps (FC) will be directed to vacate Balahisar Fort, because the K-P government has planned construction of hotels and eateries around the fort, in an act to attract visitors to the centuries old site. The FC has inhabited the fort since 1948. Viceroy Lord Curzon placed the FC Headquarters (HQ) as Balahisar Fort in 1948, where it has remained since. However, the K-P Assembly recently passed a unanimous resolution asking the FC to hand over the historical fort to the civil administration so it can be open to the public.
PTI’s grand plan to promote tourism in the province also includes relocation of Central Prison Peshawar and the opening of the present premises to the general public.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, who also spoke on the occasion, corroborated Khan’s revelations on the green initiative by saying that a policy has been devised for a greener province.
Khattak said a ministerial committee has been constituted and a green growth expert group was formed for the green growth initiative, adding PTI is going to launch a billion-tree tsunami campaign where 200 forest nurseries will be established for the said purpose.
Besides members of the provincial assembly, PTI provincial leadership, members of Insaf Student Federation and Insaf Youth Wing were also present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2014.