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PM Abbasi rejects names of Liaquat Ali Khan, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, and Gandhara proposed for Islamabad airport

Gandhara
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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has rejected all three names proposed by the ministerial committee for the Islamabad’s new airport and left the issue open for debate, without presenting any pertinent justification over his decision.

Earlier a four-member ministerial committee headed by the Ports and Shipping Minister Hasil Bizenjo proposed three names, during recent meetings of the federal cabinet, which were rejected by the PM after consultation and discussion with his cabinet and the officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The other members of the committee included Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, adviser on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah. This committee was formed by the ousted PM Nawaz Sharif prior to disqualification in Panama Paper cases by the apex court.

The committee had suggested the names of Liaquat Ali Khan, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, and Gandhara. Other than the two well known personalities, Ghandhara was an unusual choice.

Most of the residents of Islamabad suggest naming the airport after Abdul Sattar Edhi. Despite serious reservations from PPP, the government is yet to reach a consensus on the name and has kept the matter open to debate.

The word Ghandhara means, ‘Land of Fragrance’, it was the name of the civilization which constituted northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from the mid-1st millennium BC to the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE.  It has been speculated that Gandhara was a triangular tract of land about 100 kilometers east to west and 70 km north to south, lying mainly to the west of the Indus River and bounded on the north by the Hindukush Mountains.

The majority of the participants of these meetings argued to name the airport after some Pakistani personality. Arguments may occur regarding the name selection due to political reasons. On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party has urged the government to name the new Islamabad airport as Benazir International Airport.

Read more: Why has the inauguration of New Islamabad Airport delayed once again?

Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi had suggested that new airport should be called Islamabad International Airport, which led to backlash from PPP quarters. PPP’s senior leader and former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani reacted irritably and wrote to PM Khaqan Abbasi asking him to name the newly built airport after PPP’s slain leader Benazir Bhutto.

PPP is vehemently trying to convince the incumbent government to not to change the name of the airport. Because, when all the operations of old airport are shifting to a new airport, why not the name? Opposition leader Khursheed Shah had even threatened to go court if the government decided not to name adhere to his party’s demand.

The committee had suggested the names of Liaquat Ali Khan, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, and Gandhara. Other than the two well know personalities, Ghandhara was an unusual choice.

But, most of the ministers in the cabinet opted to suggest the name of Pakistan’s first PM Liaquat Ali Khan for his immense contribution to the freedom struggle. Moreover, other political parties would not dare to change the name on their own behest in the future, if cabinet opts to name the airport after any Pakistan movement personality.

Read more: The government’s quiet attempt to privatize major airports foiled

Most of the residents of Islamabad suggest naming the airport after Abdul Sattar Edhi. Despite serious reservations from PPP, the government is yet to reach a consensus on the name and has kept the matter open to debate.

Last week, the government had also delayed the planned inauguration of new Islamabad airport on April 20. After a long span of 11-years, amid many delays and expenditure of Rs 105 billion, the inauguration of Pakistan’s biggest airport is eagerly awaited. According to the official statement from CAA, new airport will be finally operational for flights from May 03, but formal inauguration will take place on May 01.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. ‘Islamabad International Airport’ Is A Better Choice. Or ‘Ayub Khan International’ Can Be A Second Choice For Many Genuine Reasons’ If The Government Is Ready To Give It An Unbiased And Patriotic Thought. France, Still Have ‘Charles De Gualle International’ In Paris, After All. Thank You. SNR.

    • Agreed. He was a patriot & nationalist. Besides he was the metaphorical daddy of zulfi bhutto so ppp should not have problems with Ayub Khan’s name.

  2. Why the name is being chaged, ?Does shifting a person , place or thing from one location to an other justifies changing its NAME .

  3. میرے خیال میں اس ایر پورٹ کا نام شہید لیاقت علی خان رکھا جاءیے. اس لیے کہ اس عظیم لیڈر نے اسی خطے. یں جان دی. شہید بی بی اور شہید لیاقت علی خان میں واضح فرق ہے. ویسے یہ نام اگر شاہد خاقان کو پسند نہیں تو کوئی بات ہیں آنے والی حکومت کو موقع دیا جائے

  4. It should be named Field Marshall Ayub Khan International Airport. The airport in Paris is named after field Marshall de gaul who was a military man & an ex president.
    President Ayub khan belonged to the region where this airport is built. He founded the capital Islamabad and built it from scratch. His contributions to the green & industrial revolution in this country are remembered to this day.

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