Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s decision to sell off the minister's block constructed in Pervaiz Elahi’s regime is a move that has solicited quite some outcry but for all redundant reasons. Critics, including provincial ministers, parliamentary secretaries and advisers to the CM, claim that selling off the building not only deprives the aforementioned people of proper offices to relay their official work to but also amounts to a waste of taxpayers’ money – Rs. 730 million to be exact. One wonders how the very same individuals feel about other actual and worrisome cases where taxpayers’ money has been exploited. Objections also include the concern that once sold, a public asset will be lost.

The Chief Minister’s judgment to auction the purpose-built yet obscenely behemoth-like building surely has its own political baggage; the rivalry between both parties – PML-Q and PML-N – has been won and lost on the very same issues where one party cemented its awami credentials by surpassing the other in chopping developmental programs, planning more embellished architecture and what not. But in this case, Pervaiz Elahi’s building seems superfluous despite what supporters say. We also know how the sentiment to convert a rather lavish superstructure into a socially productive dwelling, like a library, is often a forgotten and rarely accomplished pursuit. More than the scarcity of funds, our governments often lack the very will to carry the plan out.

An anonymous minister lamented that the efficiency of work between advisers and secretaries could be stunted if they had to evacuate the building and seek another place to execute affairs in. This is absurd; there isn’t a dearth of government buildings in Lahore that can spaciously and comfortably accommodate our worried parliamentary secretaries and provincial ministers. If anything, the building can be sold off and the funds acquired used for a constructive purpose. Is it really not a colossal tragedy?