ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has failed to set up the Gandhara Heritage and Culture and Convention Center at the F-9 Citizen Club in light of its board’s decision, as the building is still used as a mass vaccination center.
Officials told Dawn that last year the CDA board decided to establish the center at the Citizen Club and sent a proposal to the federal cabinet which was approved. However, the civic agency has not yet taken any steps to establish the center.
Officials said the Covid-19 vaccination center was installed in the building last year and a few months ago it was extended for six months. Thus, as long as the vaccination center is not operational there, the CDA will not be able to begin work to set up the heritage centre.
Last year, the CDA Board of Directors decided to establish a center at the F-9 Citizen Club; proposal approved by the government
“Now we are waiting for the conclusion of the extended period of the vaccination center. Once the club building is vacated, we will begin work on fitting out the heritage house,” a CDA official said.
Last year, then-Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Citizen Club building, which had been underutilized for years. He had formed a committee, consisting of CDA chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and architect Nayyar Ali Dada, to come up with a viable utility plan for the building. This committee proposed the establishment of the Gandhara Heritage Centre.
Spread over 22 acres with an indoor area of 265,000 square feet, the building has facilities such as restaurants, indoor pool, gym, lobby, aerobics area and fitness center. The project was started by the CDA in 2008, but when the structure was completed, the Supreme Court in 2010 took up the case and ruled that the building could not be used as a club.
CDA officials said the civic agency’s board approved the center’s rules and decided that a board would run it. It was also decided that citizens would have access to club facilities and that there would be no compulsory membership.
It had also decided that the center could be used for holding congresses, exhibitions and providing sports facilities, including a gym.
Officials said the civic agency wanted to move the Covid-19 mass vaccination center to the adjacent CDA environmental wing building in Park F-9. However, the plan could not be executed and in the meantime the vaccination center was granted a six-month extension.
Posted in Dawn, August 7, 2022