Back in October 2015, PM Khan had said that after forming government in the center, his party would hand over the country’s governor’s houses and rest houses to the people instead of reserving them for the ruling class only to reduce burden on the public exchequer.
ISLAMABAD (Dec 8, 2018) — The PTI-led government in the Center on Saturday opened the President House in capital Islamabad for the general public as part of its austerity drive and to allow public access to government-owned buildings.
PM Imran Khan and his party PTI won the elections in July calling for a new approach to socio-cultural and economic issues and dubbed it as ‘Naya Pakistan’–build the country on austerity and as a social welfare state.
Tahir Khushnood, the spokesman for the President House, said the general public can enter the government building by showing their national identity cards from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Khushnood said the decision of opening the President House is in line with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s promise that common people will be allowed to enter state-owned buildings.
He said governor houses of the country’s eastern Punjab, south Sindh, and northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces had already been opened to the public.
Located in the highly-secured Red Zone area of Islamabad, the President House, which was once a no-go area for the public, represents a modern step pyramid architectural style and is flanked by the Prime Minister House on the one side and the parliament building on the other.
People were allowed to visit a mini-zoo, green front, and rear lawns and the historic halls, where oath-taking ceremonies of several heads of governments and states, ministers have taken place.
The Sindh Governor House was opened for public in September. Visitors are allowed to see Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s office inside the premises, which also houses some of his belongings.
The PTI-govt. also opened the Governor House in Murree to the general public in September.
The initiative was taken as a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive. PM Khan referred to government-owned land as ‘dead capital’ in Septmeber, suggesting land used for government residences and other state buildings could be used to generate income instead of resorting to foreign aid.
PM Imran claimed in his tweet that just the urban portion of this land is worth Rs300 billion while Pakistan’s daily interest payment amounts to Rs5 billion.
The federal government has formed a committee to submit recommendations for the use of all four governors’ houses in the country. The committee has started its work and the future of Governor’s House would be decided in light of the committee’s recommendations.
Back in October 2015, Khan had said that after forming government in the center, his party would hand over the country’s all governor’s houses and rest houses to the people instead of reserving them for the ruling class only to reduce burden on the public exchequer.
“It seems this is a small thing but in reality, this is the philosophy that will pave the way for making Naya (new) Pakistan by generating taxes. Rs20 million was being spent on these rest houses from the provincial exchequer but in future, they will generate money,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at the handing over of 15 government rest houses to the tourism department in the tourist-bound areas of the province.
Imran Khan said an independent authority would be set up to manage rest houses in the province and that the revenue generated in that way would be spent on the development of the country.