‘Governor Houses belong to masses, not the governors’
LAHORE: Governor House in Murree will be opened to the public on Sundays from 10am to 6pm. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar announced this during a press conference on Monday in Lahore.
Speaking to the media, Sarwar said that the new government is very focused on accountability. The prime minister, chief ministers and governors are all accountable to the public, he said. “If you see us [doing anything wrong] or have issues with our transparency or accountability you can hold us by the necks. We won’t do anything wrong or let anyone do anything wrong,” he promised.
The Punjab governor said justice and implementation of the law are priorities in the province. There will also be no victimisation of our political opponents, he vowed.
“We will try our best to resolve the basic issues facing the people like lack of clean drinking water, lack of justice and healthcare facilities,” he said.
Speaking about the decision to open Governor House in Murree to the public, Sarwar said people won’t be allowed to visit the official residences but can go to the swimming pool and gardens.
Tourists are allowed to visit Buckingham Palace and the White House, he said, adding that in Pakistan we have made high walls around our official residences and people don’t know what’s going on inside.
Now, people can come, take a look around and take pictures. They will now know what Governor House is all about, he said. “People should know this belongs to them. To the nation, not a government or governor,” he said. Speaking about his own official residence, the governor said he is staying at his own house in Lahore’s Defence area and plans to continue living there.
“We have been making decisions on an emergency footing basis, but the ideal situation would be that all tourist spots have rest houses with cafeterias where people are able to have snacks and drinks,” he said. When making decisions, we will be thinking about ways to facilitate the public, he said.
Sarwar said that when he took office, he started a clean drinking water project. I believe 1.1 million people die every year because they drink dirty water, he said. “If this was happening in another country, there would be a huge reaction,” he said.
Sarwar said of the patients who come to hospitals in the province, 80% are due to drinking dirty water. “If people get clean drinking water fewer people will get sick and we will then in turn spend less on medicine and hospitals,” he explained. He spoke about an experiment he conducted by installing filtration plants at Governor House and some schools. Attendance increased after the plants were installed, he told the participants of the press conference.
“You can only progress if your nation is healthy,” he said.