LAHORE - Racecourse Park, rightly renamed Jillani Park, after the name of its founder, is under serious threat of defacement at the hands of the present bureaucracy. Firstly, the entrance of park at the rear of the DC House was fenced with concrete blocks; but later on, under the pressure of the Lahore High Court decision, a single narrow opening was made, which is seemingly a deliberate tactics to discourage visitors. Many drivers have smashed their vehicles into the wall while trying to negotiate the obstacle. Then, as if in a rage, against the court verdict, the entry gate, guardroom and fencing covered with bougainvillea, were pulled down and footpaths around it ripped up. For the reasons that can be ascribed to a demented mind a previously an organised parking lot now looks like a war-affected zone. The story does not stop here - a 4 kanal green patches inside the park facing the Jail Road has been converted into a cemented parking area. Now the last straw is a banner heralding the construction of a mini golf course behind the DC house for the entertainment of the public, it says. But whom are they trying to make a fool of? Golf is a sport for the rich; very few can afford to buy the expensive golf kits. It is an attempt to convert the park, which is truly a peoples place, into an elitist center of which already there is no dearth (another one is being developed by the Riding Club within the same premises). People of all shades come here to jog, relax, picnic and see their children use swings and slides. All this will disappear and another green patch will be gobbled by concrete. It may be recalled that a similar attempt made by a former chairman CDA to establish a mini golf course in an Islamabad Park, was shot down by the Supreme Court on the ground that the original character of a park cannot be changed. A similar decision was also given in case of Doongi Ground. This project too, is in clear violation of the Supreme Courts decision. It is quite conceivable that the chief minister having a lot on his plate has no idea of the games that bureaucrats are playing or taking decisions in his name. But in case he approves the project, he has no right to criticise his predecessor on the Doongi Ground issue. In democracies, all development projects are publicised and proposals/objections invited. However, the bureaucracy in our country has the mistaken notion that it enjoys monopoly over wisdom and bizarre ideas are foisted on the public. The chief minister should act swiftly and firmly reversing all anti-people measures and order parks restoration to the condition as conceived originally. It would indeed be ironical that if the park established by his mentor, the late General Jillani, is ravaged before his eyes. And it would also be a good idea to put to pasture those responsible for denting his image of good governance. Horticulturists expressed great concern over the changes in Racecourse Park in the name of promoting recreational facilities to people, saying master plan does not allow Parks Horticulture Authority (PHA) administration to do so. They said the attempt to convert the grassy area into parking lot amounted to dent original plan. They say if needed, few alterations can be made but it demands higher technical expertise, specific guidelines, landscaping standards and services of consultants. However, the PHA lacked all capabilities, they added. When contacted, CM Task Force Chairman on Horticulturist Mohsin Latif responded that personally he was not in favour of mini golf course and construction of parking stand at grassy area. I believe that it will undermine the original beauty of the Park. He said all such things were the part of proposals that were under consideration. He resolved that all steps would be taken in the greater public interest.