LAHORE, Oct 23: Participants in an extensive debate on Tuesday opposed renaming of various city roads, intersections and localities after unrecognised (deceased or living) personalities either by people on their own or in connivance with the government officials.

At a meeting of ‘Dilkash Lahore’ (Beautiful Lahore) project held at Town Hall under the aegis of the City District Government of Lahore, the officials decided to not allow unauthorised naming or conversion of names of roads and localities.

The meeting was presided over by Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday (retired), the project committee chairman, and attended by Dr Ajaz Anwar, Salima Hashmi, Ahmad Rafay Alam, Sheerin Masood, Rameeza Nizami and Suhail Warraich.

The participants were of the view that various development activities must be carried out very carefully in order to preserve the British-era buildings, roads, streets and localities. There was a consensus that the names of the city roads/spots that had historical significance shouldn’t be changed to keep the young generation informed about the golden personalities of the subcontinent.

“I think it is not good to change names of the city roads in recognition of the services of important personalities,” Justice Ramday said. He expressed his displeasure over changing the name of Davies, Mall and other roads. Had the Quaid-i-Azam been alive today, he would have discouraged changing the name of The Mall and other roads, he said.

He recalled that former military dictator Ziaul Haq once visited Toba Tek Singh and announced its new name as Faridabad. But the then members of Toba Tek Singh municipal or town committee resisted the move. He said changing the name of any old road/spot was nothing short of tyranny.

He, however, requested the committee to name new city roads after the leading lights of yesteryears. “Everyone should avoid naming the roads after the unrecognised people,” he suggested.

Ms Salima Hashmi said the committee must keep all aspects relating to the city’s history, beauty and contributions of people in different fields in mind. “This is the city where dozens of leaders, educationists and artists were born or worked. While reviving the city’s heritage sites and naming/renaming various city roads, we must remember our heroes,” she said.

Dr Ajaz Anwar pointed out that there were various city roads named after notorious or unrecognised people. “Akbar Chowk near Township was named after a property dealer,” he cited one example, urging the CDGL to launch a campaign to rename such places.

Suhail Warraich emphasised the need for following relevant laws that could stop such illegal practices of naming the city spots by unauthorised people.

Ms Sheerin Masood sought an extensive awareness campaign for the students regarding importance of naming/renaming the city roads after various personalities.

Rafay Alam stressed that the identity, culture and history of the city must not be sacrificed in the name of rehabilitation.

Earlier, CDGL Administrator/DCO Noorul Amin Mengal explained the objectives of the committee, saying the CDGL had initially allocated Rs100 million for the Dilkash Lahore Project.

BHAGAT SINGH: The participants discussed naming Fowara Chowk (Shadman) after Bhagat Singh and Shadman Chowk (Jail Road) after Chaudhry Rehmat Ali.

Municipal Services EDO Mahmood Tamanah and Committee’s Secretary Ms Umme Laila Naqvi submitted a report to the committee and sought public feedback on naming the spots after these personalities.

The committee members finally agreed to forward the matter to the project’s relevant sub-committee in order to expedite the matter.

The CDGL also added some more people to the Dilkash Lahore Project Steering Committee. According to a notification, there will now be 21 members on the committee. Those added included Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday (retired), journalists Iftikhar Ahmad and Suhail Warraich, and Syed Hasan Masood Zaidi, honorary consul of Malta.

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