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September 14, 2018

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PM House to house university: Shafqat

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood here on Thursday said the government had decided to convert all high level official residences into higher educational institutions, museums, parks and five-star hotels in pursuance of promises made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his maiden speech.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said that around Rs1.15 billion were being spent annually on these official residences which would be saved. He said the prime minister and governors had decided not to live in their official residences, as a good gesture and a role model of austerity for the masses.

Sharing detail of today’s meeting with the Prime Minister; Shafqat Mahmood said that a committee was established in this regard under his chairmanship which presented the report to Imran Khan. The minister informed that Prime Minister House comprised over 1096 Kannals and its annual expenditure was Rs470 million. The PM House building would be converted into a high level Post Graduate Educational Institution, he added.

The land of the PM House would also be utilised for construction of the new buildings of university, the minister added. In this regard, he said a three-member committee had been constituted which included education minister, HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri and Dr Attaur Rahman and the committee would take further steps for establishing the university.

Shafqat said that Governor's House, Murree would be converted into a high level Heritage Boutique Hotel. He said the Governor House, Murree had been renovated with approximately an amount of Rs600 million recently, while its annual expenditure was Rs140 million.

The Punjab House situated at Pindi Point, Murree would be converted into a tourists' complex, he said, adding that the annual expenditure on Punjab House, Murree was around Rs25 million. The Punjab House and Governor’s House established in Rawalpindi were spread over 50 Kannals and 20 kannals respectively and were being used as a rest house, he said adding that the total expenditure of both buildings was around Rs40 million annually.

He said these both buildings would also be transferred into a high level educational institution adding that National Council of Arts, Rawalpindi could be shifted to these buildings or an Information Technology Centre could also be established there. The decision in this regard would be taken by the Punjab government, he added.

He also informed that the Governor’s House, Lahore, established on 700 Kannals would be used for museum and Art Gallery while the grounds would be converted into the public parks. A vocational and technical institute and a boys and girls school established in its jurisdiction would be separated from the Governor’s House, Lahore, Shafqat added.

Similarly, he said the building established on 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Karachi is being renovated with the cost of Rs80 million, adding that it would be converted into the crafts museum while its basement hall would be rented out for public conferences.

He said that Chamba House, Lahore is a historical building which will be used for Governor’s Office. Another building of State Guest House established on 16.5 acres of land at Mall Road, Lahore and being officially used by the Foreign Office, will be converted into a five-star hotel, he informed. The annual expenditure of this building is around Rs500 million, the minister said.

Karachi Governor’s House would be converted into a museum, while State Guest House, Karachi would be used for Governor’s House and the decision to this effect would be taken with the consultation of the Sindh government, he remarked. Qasr-e-Naz, a building located at best place of Karachi, would also be converted into a five-star hotel. Its annually expenditure is around Rs12 million, he informed.

He said that Governor’s House, Balochistan has two portions and it would be used for museum while on the wish of prime minister, its grounds would be converted into parks specifically for women.

While the Peshawar Governor’s House would be converted into a history museum, the minister said adding that its grounds would be converted into parks. Governor’s House, Nathia Gali, he said, would be transferred into a high level resort hotel under the supervision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

To a question, he said that no decision has been taken yet regarding the conversion of provincial houses established in front of Marriot Hotel, Islamabad.

He said any decision in this regard would be taken in second phase. A committee has also been established which would report to the prime minister in connection with the implementations of these decisions, the minister concluded.

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