LAHORE: The seventh meeting of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), held with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in the chair, made in-principle the decision to bring the Badshahi Mosque within the purview of the authority.

Addressing the meeting held at his office on Friday, the CM said the WCLA would revamp the Badshahi Mosque.

During a meeting in Islamabad in July this year, according to news reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the Punjab government to take over administration of the mosque from the Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department. He had said the administration of the mosque should be handed over to the tourism department or the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) since it was a heritage site.

The meeting at the CM’s office on Friday gave approval to extension of the contract of WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari as well as restoration of the historic grandeur of the Bhati Gate.

CM Buzdar said historical Bradlaugh Hall and Barkat Ali Khan Hall, Mochi Gate, would be opened after necessary repairs. He added that along with the revamp of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, the tombs of Bibi Pak Daman, Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya, Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Hazrat Shah Shams Tabrez and Khawaja Ghulam Fareed would also be revamped while the historical worship places, including those of the minority communities, would be restored in different cities by the WCLA.

It was revealed in the meeting that the Punjab government had a plan to declare Lahore and Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, as the twin cities in a ceremony in November this year.

The meeting also approved establishment of the heritage institute. It reviewed implementation of the master conservation plan and deliberated upon the proposals to shift the Rim Market outside Lahore.

The CM said the WCLA would carry out Dilkash City programme in Lahore, Bahawalpur, Multan, Muridke and Faisalabad.

He directed the officials to take steps for opening Roshnai Gate in the provincial capital for the public and asked them to restore the 100-year-old building of DC office Sargodha. He said the restoration of the mausoleum of Mir Chakar Azam Rind in Okara should be expedited and the park, museum and shops should be set up around it.

Earlier, WCLA DG Kamran Lashari presented three years performance report before the meeting and briefed it on six projects that had been completed while saying that 10 other projects, valuing Rs500m, were under completion. He said four projects were in progress, including restoration of dilapidated historical buildings of the Walled City. He said the drainage system had been restored with Rs4bn with assistance from France.

Mr Lashari said the authority would also carry out historic buildings’ restoration projects in Zhob, Mardan and Muzaffarabad.

The chief secretary, ACS, chairperson the heritage conservation board of WCLA Yousaf Salahuddin, commissioner Lahore, secretaries of Auqaf and information departments and the consultant of Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, the CM held meetings with MPAs Samiullah Chaudhry, Lala Muhammad Tahir Randhawa, Abdul Haye Dasti and Khawaja Dawood Sulemani and provincial minister Nauman Langrial.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

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