During my recent visit to the Public Park in Punjgur, the usual bustle of a crowd was nowhere to be seen. I was surprised to notice the main entrance closed for the visitors as the public park was being used for commercial purposes.
Locals told this scribe that the park has become out of bounds for the masses who used to come to the park, as this was the only place for entertainment in the city. One of the locals said, “The park has been outsourced by the city government to the contractor who is using the facility for commercial purposes such as holding private functions.”
It is also worth noting that the housing societies are expanding at an unusual pace in the city whereas public places are shrinking so much so that the entire district is facing a shortage of public places depriving the community of quality entertainment.
Since the closure of the park, ordinary citizens can only imagine spending their leisure time under the green shady trees where they used to bring their families including children for fun.
Recently, local people have started to push the city government to set up new public places in order to promote healthy activities among the youth.
Jan Muhammad Baloch, a local businessman, who frequented the park in its glory days, complained about the shortage of any entertainment facilities in the city.
“Having no parks and gardens to visit, people have no choice but to stay at home during the weekends and holidays.”
He adds, “As a result, most people pass their time in the main bazaar sitting outside shops and tea stalls.”
PakVoices’ investigations found out that the public park has been handed over to a private contractor who is using it for commercial purposes. Local people including notables told me that most of the time the park is booked for private functions and gatherings.
Talking to PakVoices, Imran Sharif, a resident of the area, called on the authorities to pay attention to the issue and get the park opened for the public.
“The government must restore the public park to its original form by canceling the agreement with the private contractor, ” Imran said.
He also asked the government to allocate funds to establish new parks and playgrounds in the city.
Despite several attempts to reach out the local government to get their version of the story, they have not responded to the request.
Locals say that the parks will provide a much-needed relief to the entertainment-starved people of Panjgur city.
Salal Sanjrani is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Punjgur, Makran Coast.
Edited by Hasan Khan