‘Prime Minister House in Pak to be converted into high-quality PG institute’
Thursday, Sep 13: Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood announced on Thursday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government will turn the Prime Minister House into a postgraduate university of a high quality.
Addressing a press conference regarding the new government's plans for state-owned properties, the minister announced that additional construction will also be carried out on the land behind the residence meant for the premier after a formal plan is devised in this regard.
The PM House is spread over 1,096 kanals and Rs 470 million are spent on its upkeep annually, said Mehmood, who was heading a committee formed to decide how government-owned buildings could be utilised in public interest.
"[The] PM House will become a high-quality university or institution that will be unique with its education in Pakistan," he said.
In his first address to the nation after being elected, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that he would be staying in a "three-bedroom house that served as the military secretary's residence", instead of the Prime Minister House.
"I wish that the PM House will be turned into a university. It is in a great location to be one," Khan had said at the time.
The minister announced that the Government House in Murree, which the Punjab government had spent Rs600m on recently, will be transformed into a "heritage boutique hotel".
"You can see gold plating on the commodes in the bathrooms of the [building]," Mehmood said, adding that around Rs35m are spent on the property's maintenance every year.
The Punjab House in Murree, the annual expenses of which are Rs25m, would be turned into a tourist resort. The transformation will be done by the private sector, however, the Punjab government will carry out the formalities, Mehmood announced.
A Punjab House, with a Governor's Annexe attached to it, is located in Rawalpindi's central district. Spread over 70 kanals, the property is used a rest house and Rs40m is spent on its upkeep annually, the minister revealed.
The rest house will either be converted into a higher education institute for IT/incubation centre, or the National College of Arts in Pindi will be shifted to this building, Mehmood announced.
The Governor House in Lahore is spread over 700 kanals, the minister revealed. The schools and vocational training institutes located on its compound will be separated and the Governor House itself would be converted into a museum and an art gallery. The property's grounds will be opened to the public as a park, which will include a small zoo.
According to the minister, former Punjab chief minister was using 90 Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam in Lahore as one of his offices. This building, the annual maintenance cost of which is Rs80m, will be transformed into a craft museum and a hall within it will be changed into a convention centre which will be rented out for events, he announced.
The Chanda House in Lahore will be turned into Governor Office as an alternative to the expansive Governor's House.
A state guest house situated on Mall Road, the upkeep of which costs Rs5m annually, will be converted into a five-star hotel, the minister revealed.
The government plans to transform the Governor House in Karachi into a museum and bring its parkland into public use. These plans will be executed in consultation with the Sindh government.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, meanwhile, will shift into a state guest house in the city.