LAHORE, May 20: Syed Babar Ali was on Monday elected the first president of the Lahore Heritage Foundation, set up to provide expertise to government and private bodies, and if need be also with funds, for conservation and promotion of the culture and history of Lahore.

The foundation board met for the first time after it was registered and also elected Dr Parvez Hassan as its vice president with Mr Qasim Jafri elected as the CFO and Mr Majid Sheikh as secretary, a press release said.

Syed Babar Ali donated Rs10 million to the foundation to be given to it over three years and hoped that all those who loved Lahore would donate generously for the cause once specific ventures, especially inside the Walled City, are undertaken.

“We need not ask foreign agencies to give us money. I am confident that within Lahore the people will be generous enough to help us complete specific projects”, he said.

The meeting discussed different organisations with which the foundation would be working, especially the Lahore Walled City Authority, the Punjab government, archaeology department and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

It also decided to contact various local as well as foreign conservation bodies so as to build a talent pool to assist conservation projects in the country.

The meeting was informed about the excellent work done by the Aga Khan Trust at Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, India and the members were confident that a similar effort could be made to save the Lahore Fort and other such historic monuments.

It also stressed the need to build the capacity of archaeology department experts for successfully undertaking conservation projects. In this respect a technical committee was formed to help build such talent and expertise.

The other members of the board include Mr Razzak Dawood, Mr Tariq Saigol, Mr Nayyar Ali Dada, Mr Shahid Husain, Mr Shahid Abdullah, Mr Naeem Mukhtar, Ms Nighat Ali, Ms Naheed Rizvi and Mr Shahid Malik.

The board’s next meeting will be held on July 11.

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