IMAX No More…
As per the news report that appeared in today’s The Nation, the Punjab Entertainment Company (PEC) has shelved its plans to bring IMAX Theater to Lahore. The project, with a whopping investment (read public-money-that-could’ve-been-better-utilized-somewhere-else) of over Rs. 1.34B by Punjab Government, was in doldrums from the very beginning when a stay order was issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The petition was jointly filed by NGOs and the nearby residents against the illegal commercialization of a public park.
The PEC has now decided to shift the project to Faisalabad. I find this move an extremely absurd one – not only because of the choice of the city but also the way they’ve gone about it from the very start. Anyone who has witnessed the extent of construction that has already been completed at the Doongi Ground on main M. M. Alam Road would agree that those involved in this project should be held answerable and be made to pay back. Why did they chose to illegally commercialize a public park, that too on one of the most expensive roads in Lahore, is something that baffles me. The city has countless other locations that could’ve been used for it instead! And now, since they’re hellbent on bringing IMAX to Pakistan, then what is keeping them from still building it in Lahore – a city that’ll probably utilize it a lot better than any other city in Punjab?
What will become of the huge building structure that they’ve already constructed at the site? I certainly hope they bring it down and convert it back to a park – let this be an example for the times to come! How much of the Rs. 800M that had already been released by the Government have been wasted? The PEC (i.e., Government) needs to be held answerable and I hope, Lahore Bachao Tehreek and Shehri NGO would continue to pursue this case in the court of law. We, Lahoris and Pakistanis, would continue to back them up!