LAHORE - Completion of Greater Iqbal Park may be delayed due to change in the design of History Museum and some other key areas, official sources reveal to The Nation yesterday.

Earlier, the completion time was set by March 23, concurrent with the Pakistan Day which has now been prolonged till August 14, the Independence Day, said the sources.

Besides the museum, a number of other parts of the Park could not be completed so far, the sources added. Keeping in view the situation and pace of construction work, PHA authorities initially extended the date of completion by June 2016, whereas the contractor company requested the authorities to extend the date of completion by the end of July. In the original design of History Museum, some major changes have been brought in after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif disliked the design of its certain portions.

The CM wanted the museum reflecting true spirit of Pakistan Movement incorporating various phases of the Independence Movement, establishment of Pakistan and the difficulties it faced on political, economical and social side of the national life, said the Director General of Parks and Horticulture Authority while talking to The Nation.

However, the DG is still hopeful that the Greater Iqbal Park will be completed within given time frame which is June 2016.

On a query regarding establishment of Greater Iqbal Park Authority which was announced by Punjab CM in July 2015, the PHA DG said that he changed his decision because the establishment of the authority for just a park was unnecessary.

He said the Punjab government was intended to develop the Greater Iqbal Park including the additional area of carriageway, originally existed between Minar-e-Pakistan and Lahore Fort. The allocated site for Iqbal Park has a total area of about 127 acres comprising circular garden and existing access road of about 26 acres, 45 acres of Greater Iqbal Park/Guddi Park and 56 acres of Minar-e-Pakistan.

The conceptual design for the “Greater Iqbal Park” originated from the idea of enhancing the area for creating a welcoming environment within the densely populated areas of Walled City and adjacent Inner City, he added.

“The proposed design envisages a rational division of the available land into distinct zones, accommodating all the public and recreational facilities. The proposed design is based on the embodiment of the national symbols of the Star and the Crescent,” said the DG, detailing that these forms resemble the portrayal of a mother and the child in a symbolic manner as the Motherland Pakistan and its provinces.

“The garden design uses formal elements of Mughal landscape such as fountains, pavements, baradari and geometric patterns in a modern-day design vocabulary,” he added.

Greater Iqbal Park Project - the renovation and landscaping of Minar-i-Pakistan and the additional area of Circular Gardens - will be monumental in highlighting the Pakistan Movement and its historical significance. The project is expected to cost Rs403.686 million.

On the other hand, as per the contractor company, estimated amount for the completion of the project is about Rs981 million.

The DG said that as per the desire of Punjab CM the park would have a museum to pay tribute to the Pakistan Movement. “It will carry pictures and memorabilia of the heroes of the movement. Special programmes highlighting the aims and objectives of the movement will be held at the museum as well.”

He added there will be recreational facilities for visitors at the park, including a train ride and a horse buggy tour. A special play place for children will be constructed as well as an open-air gymnasium for fitness enthusiasts.