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February 15, 2020

Makeshift Panagah in Lahore park annoys residents

National

February 15, 2020

LAHORE: Placement of containers and DSNGs parked along the park every day is annoying for the residents of the area. The residents of the area protested against establishing Panahgah in the park and demanded removal of containers to a more appropriate place where there is greater need for one.

Money for Panahgahs is drawn from national exchequer which means from the taxes people pay. Did the government assess need for a Panahgah in Gulberg before establishing one, asks Ataullah Tarar, spokesperson for Ishaq Dar while talking to media in front of Ishaq Dar’s house 7-H, Gulberg III.

He appealed to NAB to take notice of the Panahgah in Gulberg. He demanded NAB look into renovation of the premier’s Bani Gala house, the amount incurred on it and from where did the money come.

DSNGs and TV personnels lined the road even on the fourth day of moving Panahgah to the park in front of 7-H, Gulberg III in the wake of Lahore High Court’s stay order, barring the government from establishing a shelter home at Ishaq Dar’s house. On February 9, the court asked the government to explain within 10 days why there should be Panahgah at Dar’s house. The one-week-old Panahgah in Gulberg is sixth such facility in Lahore.

The house that was turned into Panahgah couldn’t have electricity, water and gas until the default was cleared but it had all these facilities. The government put the house on auction in December and announced Rs45 million as minimum bid but nobody turned up at the auction.

Now the shelter has been moved to the park in front of the house. Two containers in a park in a remarkably posh locality seem out of place. The bigger container has bunker beds where men who come from out of city for work, find a place to sleep. A person can stay for two-three days here but he has to be from another city, it was learnt. All he requires is an identity card.

Two men who look after the affairs of the Panahgah said, “12 men came here last night. They all had dinner which is served at Panahgah for free. Four of them left after dinner while eight men slept here. Breakfast and dinner are served to anyone who comes here; 34 people had breakfast on Friday.” The men were away on business during the day. There are two makeshift washrooms in the containers as well. People can stay here from 6pm to 9am, a notice on the container read.

The container meant for women was deserted. “One woman came here with family, had meal and left. No woman ever came to stay here,” it was learnt. The other five panahgahs are at Data Darbar, Lorry Adda, Railway Station, Sabzi Mandi and Thokar Niaz Baig.

Children of the area play cricket here. Women would walk and jog here in the morning. Placement of containers and DSNGs parked along the park every day is annoying for the residents of the area. They protested against establishing Panahgah in the park and demanded removal of containers to a more appropriate place where there is greater need for one.