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MULTAN: TMA-Archaeology row over Multan heritage

January 10, 2004

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MULTAN, Jan 9: The Punjab Information and Culture Secretary would hold a meeting on Saturday in Lahore to decide how the provincial archaeology department and tehsil city administration are going to spend Rs40 million grant for the conservation of monuments and protection to cultural heritage in the ancient city of Multan.

Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi had announced a Rs40 million grant for the conservation of archaeological sites and cultural heritage of Multan. The projects prepared by the tehsil municipal administration and provincial archaeology department were approved by the planning and development division and grant was released to the ministry of information and culture, Tabassumus Saqib, adviser to the Multan City Nazim, told APP on Friday.

"We then advocated our case that the CM had announced the grant after we invited him to the city last year so the grant should be released to the TMA," he said.

It was later decided that this should be a common show that the projects prepared by the TMA, for which it has already paid over a million rupees to a consultant firm, should be undertaken by the TMA itself while the rest by the provincial archaeology department.

City Nazim Mian Faisal Mukhtar is already in Lahore to attend the meeting that would finalize how these projects are going to be executed, said Tabassumus Saqib;

These projects included:

- Restoration of three historical gates of Multan, including Haram Gate, Bohar Gate, and Delhi Gate;

- Revival of archaic originality of Multan Fort and its development, located at an 80-foot high mound in city's heart;

- Development of the area such as construction of walk ways and revival of terrace gardens as they used to be during the Mughal reign, British rule or earlier at the Fort where centuries old shrines of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya and Hazrat Shah Rukne Alam are also located;

- Retaining wall of the fort that has been badly damaged due to mound erosion near eastern side of Hazrat Shah Rukne Aalam Shrine;

-Conservation of some 268-year old Eidgah building. It was built in 1735 when Nawab Abdus Samad Khan was the governor of Multan;

- Strengthening 'Damdama', the highest place located at Multan Fort, around 20 feet above the Fort ground level, and overall 100 feet above the city level would be undertaken;

- Restoration of historical originality of Masjid Wali Muhammad and shrine of Mai Meherbaan would also be carried out.-APP