During the last administration, there was quite an emphasis on infrastructure and public spaces
During the last administration, there was quite an emphasis on infrastructure and public spaces. In fact, the Sharif administration was often critiqued as one solely of public works, with implications of self-dealing and corruption that eventually became its downfall. Despite their shortfalls in various arenas, the PML-N, at least, had the trains running on time, the public parks open for families to enjoy picnics and the roads functioning. This botanical garden, which just a few years ago was cultivating all sorts of plant varieties, had a robust playground for children, a thriving cafeteria and a butterfly house, now lies neglected and abandoned.
That is a shame at this stage of a pandemic that never seems to end. Jallo Park was one of the few places where people could take their families for a day out. Parks, especially, are the optimal spots for recreation right now, since the risk of transmission in open spaces, with fresh air and sun, is significantly lower than other arenas. But for the few and far between visitors who end up there, the cafeteria is closed, the swings and play areas are crumbling and the plants seem to be dying from neglect. Sadly, this is emblematic of all infrastructure in Pakistan’s major cities and satellite towns. Roads flood during the lightest of monsoon showers, potholes and driving hazards abound and one is left to wonder where the exorbitant and heavy-handed tax revenue is being spent. Yet, the plantation drive that has really taken off in KP and Islamabad seems to be gaining a foothold in other cities as well, aided largely by college students and young people, who are the ultimate stakeholders in the battle against climate change. Such parks and green spaces are a key factor in that battle, and should be prioritised as integral to the “billion tree tsunami” that we have all been told is coming.