Friday, September 3, 2010

Benazir Monument?!

Benazir was a female landmark, first female leader in a Muslim state, Harvard Grad, massive other accomplishments and we are all sad about her death. However, does that grant the government the right to spend tax payer money on a monument that will not churn out free cash for the public, have fountains of fresh drinking water, a hot dog stand or even an LCD TV to at least distract the viewers from the audacity of the govt to approve such ostentatious and unacceptable spending!

Benazir monument plan approved
By Syed Irfan Raza
Tuesday, 31 Aug, 2010
ISLAMABAD, Aug 30: The government has approved the Benazir Monument Complex plan that will be constructed through taxpayers’ money at a vast piece of land near Shakarparian.
The construction of the monument will cost Rs400 million while the land provided by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the project is said to be worth over Rs500 million, a senior CDA official told Dawn on Monday.

It would be the second monument constructed in the capital city during the last four years. The National Monument in Shakarparian was built on the directives of former President Pervez Musharraf at a cost of over Rs700 million.

The monument complex, which is being financed by the Ministry of Culture, would be completed in two years by the CDA.
The 10-acre-land has been provided for the monument for Rs108 million at the subsidised rate of Rs2,250 per square yard.
Civil engineers say the cost would escalate according to the complex’s proposed design to up to Rs1 billion.
“We have asked the CDA to send us the exact cost of the land so that it would be paid by the Ministry of Culture,” said the secretary culture.
The land located alongside Islamabad Highway between Zero Point and Faizabad was earlier used for holding industrial exhibition, one of the popular annual features in the federal capital that was closed due to security concerns.
“The monument is a small token of love and respect the people of Pakistan have for their great leader Benazir Bhutto,” Prime Minsiter Yousuf Raza Gilani had said at the monument’s ground-breaking ceremony a couple of months back.
A smaller monument would also be built in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh where Ms Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007.
Prime Minister Gilani had selected two sites for construction of Benazir monuments in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
It may be noted that already the existing National Monument in Islamabad had led to criticism against former President Pervez Musharraf. The critics were of the view that the amount of Rs700 million spent on the monument could have been spent on a number of uplift projects like opening of schools, hospitals and libraries etc. 

Is this the way we want to spend our money when we already don't have enough for ourselves, let alone help the flood affectees - who have lost everything? I'm pretty sure a statue of anyone, let alone BB is going to bring them any comfort. That is, unless it shoots laser beams at the malaria-ridden mosquitos hounding the now homeless.
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