Ghulam Hussain Ghazi
The Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan inaugurated Gulistan Hazar Khawani Park on Peshawar Ring Road in a grand ceremony and it was considered as a breath of fresh air in this city of growing population because almost two centuries later, a spacious and modern park has sprung up along the walls of this historic city, enough to entertain 2 million people as per world standards whereas Peshawar has a population of 2.5 million and three other major parks already existed here.
Spreading over an area of 35 acres, this magnificent recreation and amusement public park has been completed by the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) at a cost of Rs. 375 million in a record period of one year. Equipped with all modern facilities including over one kilometer ring jogging track, open air gym, theme park, swings for children, various playgrounds, BBQ park, cafeteria, Wi-Fi, car parking, toilets (both ladies & gents) and night glare lighting facilities.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Kamran Khan Bangash, Provincial Minister for Higher Education, Barrister Muhammad Saif, Information Advisor to the Chief Minister, MNA Shaukat Mohmand, MPAs Haji Fazal Elahi, Muhammad Asif Khan and other public and local government representatives and it was proof that they have met the expectations of the people. Meanwhile, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Sardar Faisal Amin Gandapur has been repeatedly visiting and inspecting the park for its timely completion.
The historical fact is there that Peshawar remained a world-renowned city especially as trade route for the Central Asian states. Also, this ancient inhabitant has its own unique example of having greenery, flowers and gardens in and around the the walled city.
The Shahi Bagh, Wazir Bagh and Khushal Bagh are the magnificent recreational spots beyond the needs of the population of few thousand people of the city that time, the construction of which is generally credited to the Mughal rulers. But it is a pity that this tradition of progress and prosperity could not be maintained after the creation of Pakistan.
The Past governments not only neglected the entertainment needs of the growing population and did not consider it necessary to add new large parks adjacent to the walled city, but also ignored even the maintenance of these three historic parks and gardens.
Rather the inner city flowers, plants and parks were completely ignored and piles of rubbish could be seen along the highways later. There was a time when Peshawar became one of the most polluted cities in the world. Compared to other parts of the country, the people here were beginning to crave better environment and recreational facilities.
However, after the Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf (PTI) led government came into power in 2013 elections, the province was transformed for the first time and it was the result of its good performance that this party was elected by the people for the first time in the history of the province with a huge mandate for the next term of government too. During these both periods, superb public welfare projects were completed and more also in the pipeline.
As in many other fields, there were public needs catered in the environment, tourism and recreation sectors. During the previous tenure of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, not only the three major amusement parks of Peshawar were restored but unique projects like the Billion Tree Tsunami, the Peshawar Zoo and BRT were launched and completed.
The incumbent Chief Minister Mehmood Khan completed even more mega projects, especially after seven major districts of FATA were also merged into the province and the task of overcoming their backwardness was accepted as a challenge.
In this context, the claim of Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan that the establishment of Hazar Khawani Park is a great gift of the provincial government to the people of Peshawar. He said in his address that the establishment of this park would further enhance the beauty of Peshawar city and also assured that a separate day would be set aside for the families in this park. He also issued instructions on the spot in this regard.
Chief Minister further assured that the already existing parks parks would be restored in the entire province including Peshawar. Pointing out to other construction and development projects in Peshawar, being launched by his government, he revealed that PC-1 for construction of missing link of Ring Road with the estimated cost of Rs. 14 billion has been sent to the concerned forum for approval. Similarly, construction of new and spacious bus terminal has been started in the provincial capital to reduce traffic congestion inside the city.
Chief Minister Mehmood Khan also mentioned the provincial government’s mega housing project called New Peshawar Valley which is five times bigger than Hayatabad township. He said that work on this modern safe city is in full swing and this is the first unique urban project of the KP government which will be completed under the land sharing formula. He also disclosed that all government offices, including the Chief Minister’s Secretariat and the Civil Secretariat, would be shifted to the new city, New Peshawar Valley.
Similarly, work is underway on water supply projects from Mohmand Dam and Jabba Dam to provide clean drinking water to the people of Peshawar, he maintained. He announced a reward equal to one basic salary for 20 employees of Peshawar Development Authority working in Hazar Khawani Park.
On this occasion, he also mentioned the political and economic challenges facing at the national level and thanked the people of the entire province for Imran Khan’s full support in freedom struggle from the imported government. He said that all the public rallies of PTI including Peshawar proved that like the rest of the country, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is also with the Captain and made it clear that on the call of Imran Khan, the people would be flooding towards Islamabad. He said that millions of people will participate in the Independence March
The role of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be exemplary in this ‘Long March’ he added. The Chief Minister said that holding general elections are essential and need of time now. He regretted that the ‘imported government’ could not even decide petrol prices though the nation is inching closer to the worst kind of fuel crisis ahead. He said that incompetent mafias had been ruling the country for the last 35 years which has made the country heavily indebted.
The Chief Minister while condemning the extra-constitutional measures taken by the federal government, said that in this context, the word “incompetent” falls short on the present ‘imported government’. He said that a gang of three big thieves has come into power to save their looted wealth and to end corruption cases against them. Citing the example of soaring Hajj expenses, he said that the cost of official Hajj in our time was Rs. 4 lakhs which has now gone up to Rs. 10 lakhs against their high claims of bringing down the prices of all commodities. Mahmood Khan announced to the people of the province that general elections would be held in the country very soon and Imran Khan would once again be elected Prime Minister to make Pakistan a true Islamic welfare state in the style of Madina State.