Issue of custody: Senators ask ministry to take over monument
ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel has asked the Ministry of Information and National Heritage to take over the national monument located at the west viewpoint of the Shakarparian Hills.
The Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage in its report maintained that heritage activities were of immense importance and needed to be placed under an appropriate entity.
It recommends that the ministry initiate a proposal asking the government to “revisit its earlier decision of placing the monument under the Capital Development Authority (CDA), rather than the heritage ministry.”
Currently, the CDA maintains administrative and functional control of this capital’s most-visited cultural landmark built on 6.9 acres.
The authority took over management of the monument on July 1, 2011, after the devolution of the culture ministry to the provinces. It was completed at a cost of Rs600 million, and financed by the civic agency from its own resources, and inaugurated on March 23, 2007.
The information ministry currently looks after 14 organisations and entities across the country, including three in the capital — the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Pakistan National Council of Arts, and the Federal Department of Archaeology and Museums.
Every year, the CDA contracts out entry fee at the premises, which are spent on maintenance and upkeep of the monument, while a staff of over 100 is deputed on site.
Civic agency’s Member Engineering Shahid Sohail, whose department is responsible for the affairs of the monument, told The Express Tribune that as the facility was constructed recently, no substantial amount was spent on its maintenance except routine upkeep.
“CDA has not yet officially received any information about the proposal of the Senate committee,” the official said.
“A cultural entity should be placed under a ministry looking after culture-related subjects,” said Senator Ashok Kumar.
According to 2008 statistics by the ministry of culture, the monument enjoyed more visitors than the total visitors to Faisal Mosque, and Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.