LAHORE: The first meeting of the board of governors of the Punjab Heritage Foundation was at last held on Wednesday ever since its creation in 2005.

And the meeting was held only after Chief Secretary Khizar Hayat Gondal, who is also the foundation vice-chairman, showed interest in it.

The chief secretary, while presiding over the meeting, ordered a strategy for the preservation and rehabilitation of the archeological, historical and cultural sites in the province.

He reportedly constituted two committees – one for assessing financial aspect of the restoration and the other for pointing out the sites for preservation – giving the bodies six weeks to submit recommendations. The second committee was headed by former NCA principal Sajida Vandal.

Sources said Mr Gondal showed his serious concern over lack of interest in the past in holding foundation meeting. He said the board should meet after every two months.

During discussion on restoration of walled cities in the province, Punjab University Prof Dr Mehmood Husain opposed the handing over of the Lahore Fort to the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA). His point was that though archaeology department which previously owned the Fort lacked proper expertise in handling the monument, it was better than the WCLA which had nothing to protect or preserve it, the sources said.

The chief secretary orders all possible steps for the preservation and rehabilitation of the historical and cultural sites, and creation of public awareness on the issue.

Archeology Department Director General Dr Ismat Tahira said 400 monuments had been listed as historical heritage in Punjab. But, Prof Dr Mehmood Husain insisted the department had not included all archeological sites in the list.

The meeting was attended by MPAs Rana Arshad, Sadia Suhail Rana and officials concerned.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2015

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