Sunday February 25, 2024

Imran Khan’s favourite ‘Governor House Nathiagali’ transferred to tourism dept

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on April 27, 2022 took the decision of handing over the Governor's House, which is known for its scenic beauty

June 16, 2022
The Governor House Nathiagali. Photo: Screengrab of a YouTube video.
The Governor House Nathiagali. Photo: Screengrab of a YouTube video. 

ISLAMABAD: To his good luck, Imran Khan can still use his favourite tourist spot — the Governor House Nathiagali for his holidays as the guest house has been handed over to the KP Tourism Department under the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the resignation of PTI’s governor Shah Farman.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on April 27, 2022 took the decision of handing over the Governor's House, which is known for its scenic beauty and was one of the favourite holiday destinations of former prime minister Imran Khan. After the resignation of PTI senior leader Shah Farman from the post of KP Governor, Imran Khan couldn’t use the scenic place officially as he had been doing in the past.

In order to make hassle-free arrangements for Imran Khan’s stay at his favourite place in future, the provincial government has handed over the Governor's House to the Tourism Department, informed a well-placed source.

In 2020, the provincial cabinet had decided to hand over five rest houses including Governor House, Chief Minister House, Speaker House, Police (IGP) House and Karnak House to the Tourism Department for outsourcing purposes. The provincial government transferred four rest houses to the Tourism Department but Governor's House was still in the use of Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa till the PTI’s senior leader Shah Farman was in office.

Sources claim the sole reason for retaining the rest house in the custody of the governor was because Imran Khan used to stay there. Now when the PTI leader has quit the office of governor, someone else from any other party could hold this office meaning that Imran Khan would not be able to stay there officially as he did in the past.

A technical committee constituted by the provincial cabinet decided on April 27, 2021 that the Governor House should also be handed over to the Tourism Department in order to proceed with its outsourcing. Interestingly, the decision of the technical committee could not be materialised for a year. But as soon as the PTI governor resigned, the provincial government issued a notification for the transfer of Governor's House to the Tourism Department.

The April 27th notification issued by the KP Tourism Department reads, “I am directed to refer to the subject noted above and to state that Chief Minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while chairing a meeting on tourism held on 06.09 2020, directed that Tourism Department may assess the properties of Administration Department (5 x Rest Houses In Nathiagali) and devise a workable way forward of their outsourcing including preservation/restoration of archaeological heritage value. These rest houses include Governor House, Chief Minister House, Hamala (Speaker) House, Police (IG) House, and Karnak House Nathiagali.”

As per the notification, the matter was, subsequently, placed before the provincial cabinet, and it was inter alia decided that five Galiyat rest houses shall be transferred to the KP Tourism Department on 10.11.2020. These rest houses were subsequently transferred to Tourism Department vide Notification dated 19.11.2020. The provincial government has notified a technical committee under the chair of minister finance for outsourcing of government rest houses to private firms vide Notification dated 03.03.2020.

“The Technical Committee in its 117th meeting held on 27-04-2021 decided that Governor's House Nathiagali may directly be outsourced to successful bidder, but it must have explicit condition that successful bidder shall have to rehabilitate and restore & maintain the architectural and heritage value of the building through a relevant and competent firm based on requirements calculated by a survey team to be notified by the Tourism Department. Moreover, no additional construction be allowed in the Governor House, Nathiagali,” the notification says.

"It is apt to mention that neither the possession of the Governor House, Nathiagali has been handed over nor the title of the land of the said property has been transferred in the name of Tourism Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in light of provincial cabinet decision dated 10.11.2020. Foregoing in view, it is requested that the Governor House, Nathiagali, may be handed over to Tourism Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for outsourcing/leasing of the property as per prime minister's directives and provincial government decision,” the notification reads.

When contacted, Special Assistant to Chief Minister KP on Information and Public Relations Barrister Saif asked this correspondent to send him a questionnaire. Later, his PRO called and told this correspondent that Barrister Sahib was waiting for the response of the relevant ministry. The official response will be conveyed as soon as he (Barrister Saif) receives the ministry’s reply, said the PRO.

The next day, this scribe contacted Barrister Saif again and his PRO replied, “We were told that secretary tourism has already talked to Fakhar Durrani and gave his official version. Didn’t he contact you?” asked the Barrister Saif’s PRO. This correspondent told him that neither anyone has called him nor any official version has been given by any KP government official. The PRO promised to get back to this scribe but no one had called back till the filing of this story.