Jinnah Park in state of abject disrepair
By Shahzad Zahid
ISLAMABAD: Fatima Jinnah Park is deteriorating due to a lack of proper maintenance by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), regular visitors to the park say. However, CDA officials complain they have never had enough money to properly maintain the park.
Situated in the heart of Islamabad, Fatima Jinnah Park is one of the largest public parks in Asia that gives city residents an atmosphere free of pollution for exercise or meditation.
The CDA has a separate directorate to look after the park, but does not employ enough gardeners to keep up the grounds, or enough guards for security. The CDA has put on various fund raising events with environmental organisations for tree plantation campaigns, but these have not been very successful. Large parts of the park consist of bushy fields, while the trees that are there have been around for as long as the city itself.
The CDA claims national and international investors are interested in developing an amusement centre in the park, but large parts of the grounds are untouched. Vast areas are plunged into darkness at night, with the weak lamps providing only a few metres of visibility.
Parts of the ground that are well maintained are not open to the general public, such as the cricket ground, which is run by the Islamabad Club. There are some tennis courts, but these require a hefty Rs 2,000 membership fee. Hot Shot, the sole health club and restaurant, next to a small shopping complex, is also too expensive for most people.
But there are free exercise facilities, such as the 2.5-kilometre jogging track and 3.5-kilometre metalled walking track. Then there is a public toilet, and a deserted building, whose purpose has never been clear. Most people can’t decide whether it’s an auditorium or aquarium.