Mindless first decision – CM Secretariat now a University for women

After unanimously being elected the new Chief Minister of Punjab, the first order to be issued by Sardar Dost Mohammad Khosa was that of fulfillment of a promise made by the PML (N) President, Mian Shahbaz Sharif i.e. conversion of the grand new Chief Minister Secretariat in Lahore into a Girls University for Information Technology. 

While majority of the population is hailing the decision and characterizing it as first of the falling pillars of elitist rulers, what many don’t realize is that this move of the new government is an even bigger mistake. 

The lavish complex was constructed in the exclusive high-security neighborhood of GOR near the Mall Road and is situated quite next to the old CM Secretariat. 

Staggering amounts were spent on an area of 85,000 square meters in a locality where a one-kanal plot is no less than Rs.2.5 million. The whole project cost around 350 million rupees with additional expenses of 110 million, 120 million, 10 million each spent on interior décor, air-conditioning and plantations respectively. Office floors are tiled with granite while Spanish tiles decorate the lavish bathrooms.  

According to provided statistics in the press, it will take almost Rs.340 million a year to maintain only this property and that too in a country where 33% of the 162 million population lives on less than a dollar a day. All this expenditure has been labeled as a wastage of public money with least regards of the previous government to the poor of this city particularly and Punjabis generally. And rightly so is the claim true, regardless of the fact that this new secretariat was to serve the seat of the Punjab Chief Minister who was lacking a proper office for years and forgetting the fact that billions were spent on construction of a new Prime Minister Secretariat in Islamabad during the earlier rule of the new government itself. 

However, what this new ‘welfare’ government did, totally lacks sense and is a decision of dull proportions. Converting this piece of art into a women’s university is as lame a decision as one that leads to its total destruction. Firstly, it is not the right place for a public educational institution especially for girls referring to the close proximity of high-sensitive government offices and residences of important people in power. Even the disturbance created by blockades to entrances of GOR and regular VIP movement at the old CM Secretariat next door is enough to convince concerned parents in deciding against their children’s admission into such a university, making the whole plan an unfeasible one. 

What, on the other hand, would have been a wiser move was to auction the property at prime rates for a luxury hotel or apartments to raise money for construction of a new University at a more feasible and secure location somewhere else in the city. 

Otherwise, let the millions already spent on this building go into scrap as students have no interest or motivation in preserving or carefully using the granite tiles or Spanish bathrooms just for the sake of saving people’s money from going into trash.

6 Comments so far

  1. A for [pine]Apple (asmamirza) on April 14th, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    Exactly exactly hasan; you stole my thoughts :P I mean share :)

    WIth so much invested on it already; its high time that the building be invested so that it be able to produce some revenue instead of equal to nothing. Make a 4-star hotel or something for god sake … why waste such huge amounts of money by making it a university.

    Cant this thought be moved in higher up circles?? In papers or is there any email address to CM available??

    Such waste it’s gonna be :\

  2. omarquraishi on April 14th, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

    nice post hasan — we may be interested in taking it on our pages — if you are interested please email me at omarr.quraishi@thenews.com.pk

    omar r. quraishi
    editorial pages editor
    the news

  3. fastmani on April 15th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

    hahaha Auctioning the building and keeping the money in your own pockets. I will 1000 times appreciate them for turning it into university rather then selling it… coz by this there are atleast 50% chances some thing good will come to the society. and Mr Hassan Mubarak sorry your alternative is just a waste…
    dont you remb what happened to the aid on the earth quake issue, Qarz utaroo mulk sanwaroo…. Never ever let these politicians take money in their pockets.. Way to go for university

  4. afifa on April 15th, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

    Hassan i endorse your views but i too have misgiving, as other fellow Pakistanis, about how the proceeds are going to be utilized by our leaders. If they make public, the sale and its proceeds, and later how it is utilized then it should be a Win Win situation!!

  5. Hasan Mubarak (hasanmubarak) on April 15th, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

    @fastmani: If we have so weak trust on our leaders whom we are hailing like they are the saviors of the nation, why did we elect them in the first place??

    Actions of the previous regimes regarding mishandling of funds and corruption are no valid basis to endorse such a silly waste of public money.

  6. baigs on April 18th, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

    I dont think it is a mindless decision, it is a very calculated move, all the negative reasons mentioned by the author must have been considered by the government and then would have made this decision hoping that the university will not work in the future and then they will make another, new decision to save the public money to take back the building as CM house or Secretariate.

    We shall see this happening very soon within this year.

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