In February 2016, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, had promised to complete construction work on the Peshawar Zoo within eight months, and it would be open for public by the end of year.
In November 2014, upon Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, Imran Khan’s recommendation, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government approved Rs 100 million for the establishment of a zoo in the province for recreational purposes. After searching for a location for the construction of a zoo, the government finally found a suitable site near the Pakistan Forest Institute, close to the University of Peshawar. The site was not only accessible and suitable, but would also allow for space to construct a zoo bigger than Lahore Zoo; which spans over 24 acres.
Similarly, in February 2016, PTI Chief, Imran Khan along with KP Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak laid the foundation stone at a ceremony. On this occasion, KP Chief Minister promised that the concerned department would complete the development work in eight months and the zoo will be open to the public by the end of 2016.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department Planning and Development Officer, Muhammad Ali, told Truth Tracker that the construction work on Peshawar Zoo is in progress, and by the end of this month (July), the cages would for the birds and other animals would be complete.
Regarding the Chief Minister’s promise to complete the project in eight months, the official said that it was a Rs 129 million project, which has been revised to Rs 328 million and its completion would take more time. He added: “It is a very huge project and after the completion of the cages, the department would purchase different kinds of animals from other countries.” However, he said that there was never a fixed date of completion.
An official at Peshawar Development Authority, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that the project was delayed for several months due to a lack of funds. He said that the concerned department requested the chief minister several times to release the funds for the contractors, but the chief minister did not release the amount, which resulted in the contractor stopping their work, thus hindering the completion of the zoo.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial leader, Shaukat Yusufzai said, “The incumbent government has taken several initiatives for the interests of the people. The previous governments in the province had neglected the establishment of such facilities, while the PTI government has delivered on its promise.” He said that it is a huge project and the government wants to complete it as a gesture of goodwill towards the public.
Peshawar Zoo Contractor, Nimat Ullah Khan, said that the construction is underway and 60 percent of the work has been completed. He admitted that due to some issues, the funds were delayed, which resulted in construction work being stopped.
Rasheed Ahmad Khan, a citizen of Peshawar, appreciated the PTI government’s initiative of establishing a zoo for the recreation of common people. He hoped that they would complete it before the end of their tenure. However, he criticized the PTI leaders for the untimely fulfillment of their promises. “If they cannot fulfill their promises on time, why do they set deadlines?” Khan said. He suggested that PTI leaders need to first confirm their plan and its completion time, and then make promises.
Tariq Shah, another citizen from Peshawar, said that the PTI government has failed to fulfill their promises . “First, they promised free medical treatment in hospitals but this promise has not been fulfilled and the poor have to purchase medicine from medical stories. We do not oppose the PTI and their projects, but they should complete them on time,” he said.
Regarding the Peshawar Zoo, he said: “It is a great initiative for the people of Peshawar, because most families live in congested areas and small homes, and the zoo will provide a recreation spot for the public.” Shah demanded that the government complete this project during this year and open the zoo to the public, because there are no recreational facilities available to them.
After evaluating the views and comments of the concerned authorities, government representatives and independent people, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI government has failed to fulfill its promise regarding the opening of Peshawar Zoo for the general public in eight months.