J-Block park won’t be turned into commercial plaza for now

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LAHORE: Succumbing to stiff public pressure, the Model Town Society (MTS) has shelved its controversial plan to convert the J-Block park into a commercial plaza and constituted a eight-member committee to decide the park’s fate measuring 55 kanals located at the right side of the Model Town Morr’s entrance, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The decision was taken place during the society’s annual general meeting held at the MTS Head Office on Sunday after some society members blasted the administration for trying to convert the park into a commercial plaza. As soon as the meeting started, MTS members headed by J-Block Welfare Society President Mazhar Ali Khan and Model Town Resident Association President Amir Azam Bakht raised their voices against the plan.
They chanted slogans against the MTS administration and demanded an immediate scrapping of the project.
According to protesters, the conversion plan was a violation of the original master plan prepared in 1921 when the Model Town was established. They alleged that the commerialisation mafia had joined hands with the MTS high-ups for ruining the park.
Talking notice of the situation, MTS President Colonel (r) Tahir Kardar suspended the plan until the next annual general meeting and decided to constitute a committee consisting of four members from the J-Block and four members from other blocks within a week.
He made MTS Vice President Dr Tanveerul Hassan Zuberi the committee head. Talking to Pakistan Today, Kardar said that the decision had been made to maintain unity amongst the society members and taking them into confidence over every issue.
“Although, out of the 300 members, around 200 had favoured the move and only 26 members had some reservations. With the results, we had the majority to go ahead on the plan which was in the interest of the MTS. But we honour the divergent views to create greater unanimity,” he said. The committee was tasked to take all stakeholders on board and come up with an unanimous decision in this regard, Tahir added.
Azam said that it was pre-planned to approve the park commerialisation but massive pressure had forced the MTS to change its mind. “Already a park has been converted into Makro superstore but we will not let it happen again in the J-Block,” he said.
MTS Managing Committee Member Mateen Ahmed Rana, who led the opposition to the plan, said that 90 percent of residents had shown their reservations over the issue and wanted the plan to be scrapped.
The managing committee consisted of 20 members out of which six members including Muhammad Shoaib, Sardar Ayaz Iqbal, Amir Alvi, Naila Najam and Faizur Rehman had opposed the park’s conversion, he added. mateen said that he would continue raising his voice for the rights of the residents of Model Town.
He said that Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif was also a Model Town resident and should look into the matter.
The MTS had prepared a plan for converting the public park measuring 55 kanals located in J-Block into a commercial plaza. According to the MTS, the move would have generated revenue for the society.
MTS Vice President Zuberi had said that the land was never a park according to the master plan. “The area was being used by nurseries for the last 32 years and was reclaimed by the MTS”, he added.