Commercialisation eating up the Walled City of Multan | Pakistan Today

Commercialisation eating up the Walled City of Multan

LAHORE: Multan’s Walled City, which was once a place of great significance, has over the years succumbed to the ever expanding commercial activity in the area. This was the agenda of a talk held at the last word bookshop in Lahore. Ahmad Tahir, who is an architect and urban analyst shed light on the grave situation of the heritage sites inside Multan’s walled city

This talk was a part of a series of talks held at the last word to highlight the importance of preservation of heritage sites in the country.

On the occasion, Tahir gave a historical context to the deteriorating heritage site at Multan’s Walled City. He said that people are deserting the walled city and moving towards newly built colonies because of changing lifestyles and basic needs of life. “However, for businesses these places are tax havens, places where small businesses can particularly thrive,” he said.

Ahmad Tahir, architect and urban analyst – Photo courtesy Hassan Raza Khan

Therefore, as prices of property at the center of a city are usually high, he argued, people usually sell their residencies and move to other places. “Moreover, because since these places are usually congested and with poor basic needs of life, living conditions are not favorable,” he said. Tahir did this research as part of his bachelors thesis at National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. 

Tahir showcased his research findings through data visualizations and maps. According to him, at least 143 buildings in the walled city are completely demolished  while 373 others are in very fragile condition. He pointed out that there is no authority involved in the preservation of Multan’s cultural heritage. “There is a need for the government to understand how important these places are for our culture,” he said.

While answering a question, he said that there is no authority that is taking care of these sites in Multan. “The civil society in Multan is not as active as it is here in Lahore,” he said. He said that Punjab walled city authority should be established to preserve these heritage sites. The event was attended by students and other professionals who were also vocal about preservation of cultural sites.