PESHAWAR - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has said that the provincial government has paved the way to make Peshawar a friendly place and the most beautiful town in Pakistan.

Speaking at the inauguration of a zoo in Rahatabad adjacent to Peshawar University, he regretted that Peshawar might have been the most developed metropolitan by now if past regimes did not indulge in corruption and utilized funds for its development. He claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government has not only closed all doors of corruption but also laid a solid foundation for converting Peshawar into a city of gardens and flowers. He said that the beautification schemes have also been expanded to all divisional headquarters in the province. The chief minister asked the media to project “our good works” besides pinpointing the flaws and shortcomings in the society so that the forces of construction could be duly encouraged.

The functional was also addressed by Provincial Minister for Environment Ishtiaq Urmar and Secretary Environment Syed Nazar Hussain Shah who highlighted various aspects of the newly established zoo and termed it a historical project. KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, MPAs and MNAs of Peshawar were also present.

Khattak said that the zoo was a matchless gift for the people of Peshawar and the entire province. He said that it would not only add to the environmental betterment and aesthetic beautify but also become a symbol of peace for the people of the terror-stricken province. He said that the zoo was first of its kind in Pakistan that has been set up as per international standard under a comprehensive master plan. He said that all other existing zoos in the country have been established under the old structures. He said that this zoo was unique and bigger than all other zoos spreading on 29 acres.

Khattak said that Rs270 million has been spent on the project against the estimated cost of Rs2100 million wherein almost all species of wild animals and birds found in the country have been caged in a natural habitat. He said that other rare species of animals including elephants, lions, reptiles and birds were also being brought to the zoo from abroad at cost of Rs260 million. He said that this environment-friendly zoo would not only provide entertainment opportunity to the visitors and tourists but also become a source of research for the students of zoology who, otherwise, travel to Islamabad and Lahore for this purpose.

The chief minister said that the provincial government was giving a special attention to the environment sector from day one and “our endeavors in this regard were acknowledged both at national and international levels”. He said that the billion tree Tsunami project “spoke of our tireless efforts in this respect”. Khattak said that environment department officials worked round-the-clock to achieve the tough target of planting one billion trees in the province that was a record and earned a good name not only for the KP but also to the country.

Khattak said that rapid bus transit and heritage trail projects were the final stages of completion while a general bus stand was also being shifted to an area near Chamkanni.

Similarly, he said, the Greater Peshawar Circular Train Project linking five districts with Peshawar has also been included in CPEC and it will be executed soon. He said that these three mega projects would considerably improve the transport system in Peshawar.

He recalled that Peshawar had become a city of dirt and encroachments when the PTI came to power and there were a number of Qabza groups working in so many areas and bazaars. He said that 14 main parks in Peshawar were devoid of greenery and filled with garbage while its 350 gardeners worked in houses of the officers. “Today, all these parks have been restored with evergreen plants and flowers while roads and bazaars of the city have also been cleared from encroachments,” he said.

He said two big sports stadiums of Peshawar have been enhanced to international level while Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium was also being constructed at a cost of Rs1.5 billion. “International sports events will soon start here in these stadiums,” he said.

Khattak said that the Peshawar Rapid Bus Transit would greatly resolve the transportation issues in the provincial metropolis. He said the Peshawar BRT would provide cheap and comfortable transport facilities to the people as 80 new buses would ply the main route and over 200 would be deployed on the connecting roads and routes to facilitate commuters daily. He said that the PTI would be back at the helm of the affairs with a majority after the next general election on the basis of its performance.

Later the chief minister along with the Speakers KP Assembly, ministers, MNAs and MPAs inspected various portions of the zoo. He asked the zoo administration to bring new animals and birds from abroad as soon as possible. He also inaugurated a dual carriageway from Spin Jumat to the zoo and approved the construction of another dual carriage from ring road Palosai junction to the zoo.