Askari Park Karachi
Askari Park, built on the site of old Sabzi Mandi (Fruit & Vegetable Market), inaugurated by President General Pervez Musharraf. Aaskari park is a family park, which clearly means that you need a female member to complete the equation. Askari park has a staff of around 170 people with standby generators and desalination water plant of their own. Security system is very good and most of the park is monitored by surveillance cameras. Security looks better than most places. Aquarium is air-conditioned and it has a large collection of fish with excellent maintenance. The reptilian house and aquarium are worth a visit.
University Road, Karachi, Pakistan
- Wildlife Aquarium
- Jogging Track
- Reptilian House
- Play Land
- Skating Park
The entry fee for park is Rs.5 and for Wildlife Aquarium it is Rs.10. Askari Park also has a jogging track and fee for whole month is 30 Rs only.
5PM to 11PM and Early Morning for Jogging Only.
Dawn of June 29, 2009 – Rules Flouted To Earn From Askari Park:
The army-controlled management of the Askari Park is violating an agreement with the Karachi city government as besides imposing an entry fee, it has converted the parkland into a marriage garden and shopping centre, it is learnt reliably.
Located in the heart of the city on main University Road in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, the Askari Park is being managed by the Army`s Corps 5 through some civilians, since it had adopted the park. Spread over an area of about 25 acres, the army built the park on the vacant land of Old Sabzi Mandi, which had been relocated on Super Highway in the suburb of the metropolis.
In 2005, the city government and the Corps 5 Headquarters entered into an agreement through which the responsibility of the development and maintenance of the Askari Park was given to the army for a period of 99 years under the city government`s adopt-a-park scheme.
However, the agreement did not allow the army`s Corps 5 to charge an entrance fees or allow companies and individuals to set-up their commercial concerns in the parkland.
The 2005 agreement says that no entry fee or any other restriction will be imposed on the public for access to and from the park except those applicable under the law or imposed by the city government. It also makes it clear that all expenditures incurred by the adopter on the development and maintenance of the adopted park shall be deemed to have been incurred as a charity for the welfare of the citizens of Karachi.
Contrary to the relevant clauses of the agreement, the army-controlled management of the Askari Park is charging Rs10 per person as entry fees to the park in the name of maintenance charges. Besides, it also allowed some 20 vendors to set-up their outlets in the park and it charged approximately Rs20,000 per vendor as a monthly rent. A marriage garden, Askari Marriage Lawns, is also functioning in the park.
Sources said that all such commercial activities are not allowed in a public park and the 2005 agreement did not authorise the adopter to use the adopted park for commercial purposes. Besides, holding marriage ceremonies or other functions in public parks is also illegal.
`Park being operated at a loss`
Responding to Dawn queries, Askari Park General Manager retired Major Syed Jamil Akbar said that the army had adopted, developed and was maintaining the park as a service and gesture of goodwill towards the citizens of Karachi and it was being operated at a loss.
He said that the monthly expenses of the park were between Rs2 million and Rs3 million and to make the park self-sustaining, the management had increased the entrance fee from Rs5 to Rs10 per person a couple of months back.
About the vendors` outlets in the park, he said that this step was taken to attract visitors particularly women and children. The vendors sell gift items, toys, clothes, artificial jewellery etc.
The retired army officer said that the marriage garden was recently opened in the Askari Park and only a few functions had been held. Some more lawns are being developed to expand the operations of the Askari Marriage Lawns, he added.
He was asked whether the management of the Askari Park had taken permission from the city government to charge entry fee and start other commercial activities. He replied “Now the city government has nothing to do with the Askari Park, which is being managed by Syed Shahid Hassan and himself for Corps 5 Headquarters, so there is no need to take any permission from the city government.”
The general manager said that on an average, between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors come to the park on weekdays while on holidays, Sundays, etc between 10,000 and 12,000 people visit the park.
He said that the Corps 5 headquarters provided subsidy by paying the salaries of lower-grade staff of the park. The park was irrigated with the treated sewage taken from a nearby sewer/nullah, during the night to keep the lawns lush green.
Gulshan nazim unaware
When Dawn contacted Gulshan Town Nazim Wasey Jalil for his version on the operation of the marriage lawns in the Askari Park, he expressed ignorance but promised to give his version after taking information on the matter the next day. However, since then, despite repeated attempts this correspondent failed to contact Mr Jalil. The person who attended his cellphone always said that Mr Jalil was not available.
The nazim over the past few months had been taking action against the marriage halls falling in the jurisdiction of his town by sealed them off for failing to register with the town and paying the prescribed fee.
Karachi District Coordination Officer Javed Hanif and Executive Director Parks and Horticulture Liaquat Ali also could not be contacted as they are busy in budget-related meetings these days.
Daily Times of May 9, 2008 – SHC Stays Askari Park Wall Construction:
The Sindh High Court ordered on Thursday the management of Askari Park, being constructed on Old Sabzi Mandi land, to halt construction of a wall, which is adjacent to three slum colonies.
The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Afzal Soomro and Justice Abdul Rehman Faruq Pirzada, was hearing a constitutional petition filed by 20 residents of these three slum colonies, Furqanabad, Gulistan Colony and Daulat Ram Compound. Naming the park general manager and site in-charge as well as the CDGK and Gulshan-e-Iqbal nazim as respondents in the case, these residents informed the court that the land on which the wall is being raised was allotted to their parents and has been under their occupation for decades. They approached the manager of the park when the wall was first being raised, who informed them that the land has been acquired by Five Corps and that they have to move away.
Advocate Maqbool-ur-Rahman, appearing for the petitioners, said that this wall will block the access to main University Road for thousands of residents of these slums, causing great difficulty and disadvantage. In fact, it will raise a law and order situation for these residents, he said, citing an example of a park administration that allowed a religious gathering on its premises.