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ISLAMABAD: A Federal Ministers Committee has reportedly failed to evolve consensus on utilization of Metropolitan Club Building, F/9 Park, Islamabad , well informed sources told Business Recorder.

This was witnessed at a meeting held on the utilization of Metropolitan Club Building, F/9 Park, Pak China Friendship Centre and FATA House under the chairmanship of Minister for Interior, February 1, 2021 to discuss and recommend most appropriate utilization of the Metropolitan Club Building, Pak China Friendship Centre and the FATA House, Islamabad.

Chairman, CDA, Amir Ahmad Ali, gave a presentation and briefed the forum that the building was constructed for the purpose of a Club and consists of a cigar lobby, lounge, snack bars, kitchens, restaurants, pools, snooker area and hotel with 48 rooms. The Chairman, CDA, presented a plan for utilization of F-9 Park as a Club. He quoted Islamabad High Court’s (IHC’s) decision to utilize it for public welfare and as per their study the best use for the building is utilizing it as a Club which will be managed by the administration of Islamabad Club.

It was also shared that the Club’s building was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.5 billion. Establishing the club will generate revenue upto Rs. 4 billion in three years. Fifty percent of the generated revenue will be spent on education while the rest on environment protection.

The proposals of Committee members are as follows: (i) Minister for Interior has supported/recommended the plan by Chairman, CDA for utilization of F-9 Park as a Club. As regard the establishment of Arts and Cultural University, he suggested that a building situated at Shakarparian, namely Arts and Craft Village, may be allocated as an educational institution, if the Prime Minister is agreed; (ii) Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, categorically rejected the proposal of CDA and suggested that this building was eminently suitable for establishing Arts and Cultural University. While replying to a question raised by the Minister for Finance regarding finances for operation of the University, he replied that the building is almost ready and the operational cost would be calculated and revenue can be generated by charging fee from students; (iii) Minister for Finance and Revenue added that establishing an institution is the first priority being a good initiative and it attracts no criticism from the public. However, the finances for the proposal need calculation. Second priority option is to utilize the said building for tourism to facilitate youth. Third option is for the establishment of a club which will be self-sustaining. However, CDA has to give solid reasons for establishment of a club; (iv) the Minister for Human Rights Dr Shirin Mazari said her first preference was for youth hostel & tourist facility for low income tourists. But as an alternate she supported Federal Education Minister’s proposal and suggested that sports facilities should be provided to all Islamabad university students. She further said the building should be utilized for tourism to facilitate the youth of our country who come to visit Islamabad from various areas of Pakistan and the unutilized land should be handed over to the park; (v) Advisor to the PM on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said that keeping in view the judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan of June 4, 2010, its important is that the building shall be used for the purpose of public welfare. According to him the proposal of the Chairman CDA that this building should be converted into a club by initially offering 4000 memberships to the citizens of Islamabad will be used to oblige the elites, which will again be a violation of the judgment of Supreme Court. He acknowledged the proposal of Dr. Mazari to use the buildings for tourism to facilitate youth and university students coming to Islamabad from all over the country which can be considered as a second option. Lastly, he said there is only one option left that this building should be best used for education purpose which is covered under the definition of public welfare. He supported this in writing as well during the visit to Metropolitan Club building F-9 Park, Islamabad on December 03, 2020 along with Cabinet Committee Members.

The Secretary, Cabinet Division endorsed the proposal of the Chairman, CDA, for utilizing the facility as a Club. However, it was proposed that the current Government is focusing on tourism and Islamabad is the base camp for all local and international tourists going up-north, especially people from those segments of society who cannot afford a high-end accommodation. It was, therefore, suggested that the club may be placed under the control of the PTDC, as the same is headed by the Prime Minister, being Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

CDA

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