LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Hamza Shehbaz on Saturday imposed a ban on holding public gatherings by political parties at Greater Iqbal Park (Minar-e-Pakistan), Lahore.
The CM said organizing political events at the historic park was by no means appropriate. “Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) last public gathering had damaged vegetation at the park and caused the loss of Rs5 million,” he said.
He also disagreed with the suggestion of making payment of the entry fee mandatory for the visitors, saying the park belonged to ordinary people, and he would never take that step which could create inconvenience for them.
“This proposal is simply unthinkable; what to speak of including it in the agenda of the Punjab cabinet meeting,” CM Hamza said.
Expressing anger at not purchasing seeds for different plants on time, he ordered an inquiry into the matter. The chief minister also directed the gardeners to start growing grass and planting samplings of different trees in empty plots of the park so that it could be made more beautiful.
Similarly, he also ordered the early formation of the Parks and Horticulture Board. “Those gardeners, who are working at provincial ministers’ or officials’ homes, should immediately be called back,” he said, adding, “Even if somebody is working at my residence, he, too, should be directed to return and perform his duties at the park.
“There should be zero tolerance towards such practice,” he said categorically.
Hamza also directed the concerned officials to identify the vacant areas in south Punjab for plantation. “The Butterfly House at Jallo Botanical Park should be made functional soon,” the chief minister ordered.
He urged the PHA officials to run their affairs in a transparent manner.
“I will not allow any favouritism,” he said, and assured his government’s support for the department.