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!

16 Comments so far

  1. Babar (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 7:05 am

    What :~0 the government was building the theatre itself? and on public money? and on public land ? absurd.

    I always asumed that some investor has “paid” for the land and is bulding it, and the govt is being criticised for selling out a park.

  2. suh (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 7:21 am

    well this is one project what i really supported.
    and hope they continue with it, it would have been the only real form of entertainment in the city and the only proper shopping mall, the cinema could have also started a thriving cinema culture in pakistan, this project was all postives,

    the area was hardly a park it was just one big mud patch full of rubbish and if houses on mm alam road can turn into shops, resturants and be bulldozed to make plazas then why not turn a park into a mall is well

    as for the money, i think it was well spent, cos the profits would have gone to help the film industry and this itself would have been a good boost for the film industry, money could not have been better utlized then this, its the goverments responsibility to fund for the film industry, and with pakistans diesing industry they need to give 10 times more then that amount, when was the last time the goverment even put a rupee in the industry? must have been in the 1960s. this is the reason why we have a dead film industry and people complain that why goverment doesnt do anything but when they do the same people say you should utlise the money in better places, its because of this mentality our film industry is dead. the truth is lollywood has been murdered by our own people.

  3. Obii1 (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    would be nice to have a pic to go along with the article – i work near to the place and have a pic of it. If any of the mods is interested i can email them. i could’nt see a link on how to upload it.

  4. Babar (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    @ SUH, I would prefer government giving direct subsidies to the industry or funding it , providing technical assistance, make an academy, or fund the technicians to go to academies abroad.
    Building these theaters will only end up in showing of foreign movies.

  5. V (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

    That would be nice. I couldn’t find one on the net. Please upload the picture to and post the link here, I’ll then include it in the original post.

  6. V (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

    They could’ve built it at any other empty lot in Lahore instead of usurping a public property. They could’ve allocated a land somewhere in Johar Town – near the under construction Expo Center for it.

  7. suh (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

    there was no better area then MM ALAM ROAD to make this project, johar town is way to far from the main city and gulberg is the commerical hub of lahore, with mm alam road being the most posh street in lahore. again like i said the area was not even a park it was a mudd patch where people use to throw there rubbish,

  8. suh (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 11:47 pm
  9. V (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 12:48 am

    Thanks for the pictures!

    If it was just a “big mud patch full of rubbish”, even then the Government was wrong to commercialize it. The right thing would’ve been to uplift the park to make it at par with, say, Mini-Golf Park. They could’ve found other sites around M. M. Alam area if the requirement was of a “posh” locality – which I doubt since they’ve now decided to move the project to Faisalabad.

  10. Opee (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 1:16 am

    I agree with SUH. That big area was hardly a park. It could have been re-structured to a park, but still, I don’t find a theatre a bad option. Not at all if it was an IMAX. I think that the project should continue and you can charge some panelties on the people involved. Majorly to the developer as he was using the public property. And there should be an alternative provided to the residents of the area to have a playground somewhere in walking distance.

    I know about a public park behind ATLANTIS water company’s office. Thats the road that is accross the street from Depilex (for Men). That park can be made fabulicious for the neighbourhoods to get advantage from. And panelties to the parties involved should be high enough. But let the IMAX come to our Sohni Dharti! :) Please.

  11. Opee (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 1:20 am

    … reason I emphesize on resuming the construction. Because I don’t want it to be another abondoned projects (Like Squash Complex at Gaddafi Stdium). That way, it won’t remain a park, nor it will become a public spot. It will become a graveyard of a white elephant. Nothing will happen. We have that example of the Squash Complex. Its just there. No use, no abuse, no learning, no nothing. Let IMAX bring some good, I say.

  12. suh (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 3:44 am


    well before the gov. actully took it it was just actully a commercial plot owned by sozo group who had planned a theme park for quite a long time but plans never went ahead.

    the plot was not suppose to be a park in the first place

  13. suh (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 6:10 am

    also not forgetting that just behind the doongi ground there is another big park, and like someone pointed out another one behind atlantis water,and then another on the street infront of chicargos grill, how many do we need.

  14. Opee (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 6:15 am

    We just need that Doongi ground. (owaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain owaaaaaaaaaaaain) :)

  15. Bilal (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

    When we look around in Lahore, we see uncontrolled rampant commercialization, and utterly characterless concrete monstrosities rising all around a’la a vulgarized dubai style. If we let this go on, then before we know it we will find ourselves in the kind of mess Mr. Cowasjee writes about in Karachi.

    Given the already limited entertainment opportunities for our poor masses in this day and age, it is safe to say that too many parks are almost enough for a large sprawling metropolis like Lahore. I would advise all those who can to visit the Minar-e-Pakistan park on a Sunday morning to get an idea of the scale and nature of this problem.

    I am all for IMAX if it is lawfully being built on non-public property, anywhere in the city. Heck, I want 3 or 4 IMAX theaters in Lahore. But I do not want to see a single public park being eaten up in the process. Doongi Ground may have been in a less than enviable condition before this IMAX fiasco, but that can in no way justify it being consumed by such a grossly commercial project.

    Will the poor people, who one used to play cricket or fly kites there, be able to watch free movies at the IMAX theater (which would have been built there)?

    If such projects are constructed by eating up designated open spaces and parks in the Doongi Ground IMAX way, this will exacerbate the already worrying socio-economic class schisms in our society. A small glimpse of these was seen in the 14 February 2006 Lahore riots.

    As a warning and punitive measure for future usurpers and transgressors, the Honorable Court now should order PEC to:
    1. Demolish whatever construction that has taken place (at PEC’s cost);
    2. Rehabilitate the resultant open space into a free-entry model park (at PEC’s cost);
    3. Publicly apologize in newspapers, radio, and TV that what they did was wrong and they are sorry to the residents of Lahore for their actions (at PEC’s cost).

  16. Opee (unregistered) on July 25th, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

    It will be fine if they ‘actually’ demolish everything. If they actually refactor the park. But that IF ain’t small. If we have to see the big elephant sitting where the kite flyers won’t be able to fly kites and moreso, the theatre wasn’t built too, its better to build it up rather than abandoning. Otherwise, I agree that parks shouldn’t be allowed to be converted into buildings for commercial purposes or whatsoever.

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