LAHORE: Almost 18 more buildings inside the walled city of Lahore would be declared as heritage properties by the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) whereas, the approval for the same was taken from the Heritage Conservation Board (HCB) in a meeting held here on Monday, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The meeting was attended by the HCB Chairman Yusaf Salahuddin, Architect Nayyar Ali Dada, Historian Faqir Saif Ud Din, Punjab Archaeology Department director, WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari, WCLA Director Conservation Najam us Saquib, WCLA Director Administration Shahid Nadeem, WCLA Director Marketing Asif Zaheer and WCLA Deputy Director Conservation Mubashir Hassan.
In September 2018, WCLA had declared 16 buildings as heritage properties whereas, the total number of buildings to be declared as heritage properties inside the walled city of Lahore is currently standing at 247.
The recently selected buildings include Lahore Fort, Dhayan Singh Haveli (Chuna Mandi College Complex), Badshahi Masjid , Hazuri Bagh and Allama Iqbal Tomb , Oonchi Masjid Sootar Mandi , Sunehri Masjid , Masjid Saleh Kamboh , Oonchi Masjid (Bhatti Gate) , Roshnai Gate , Delhi Gate , Chitta Gate , Lohari Gate , Kashmiri Gate , Sheranwala Gate , Bhatti Gate , Paani Wala Talab , Ayaaz Tomb, Gurdawara Dera Sahib and Shahi Hammam.
The proposed constructions were declared as heritage properties by WCLA as per chapter 5 and section 23 of the WCLA Act 2012, according to which the authority may, in consultation with HCB, for purposes of conservation of heritage and by notification in the official gazette, declare a building, structure, land, building fabric, urban open space or work in the walled city of heritage value.
“WCLA is taking good steps as heritage and historic buildings including gates, havelis and houses should be protected so that the beauty of the city remains intact and there is legal ownership after declaring them as heritage properties as well,” HCB member and Bhati Gate resident Faqir Syed Saifuddin said.
Mubashir Hassan was of the view that it was important to declare the buildings and sites as heritage properties in order to save the original fabric of the city. “Some of the properties were declared as heritage as per the Antiquities Act, 1975 and Special Premises Act, 1985, but WCLA would endorse them as per the WCLA Act, 2012 as well. The properties declared as heritage properties in 2018 have been sent notices to inform the owners about it and also public hearings were held. Now, we are waiting for the list to be printed in the official gazette. The ones declared as heritage properties in 2019 will also be following the same procedure and we will be holding public hearings and fulfilling legal formalities in line with the WCLA’s Heritage Rules, 2017 while declaring the properties as heritage. It is need of the hour to declare these buildings as heritage properties so that we save what we have in the walled city now,” he added.
WLCA Director General Kamran Lashari said that the meeting had other agendas as well and the board had been kind enough to guide and comment on those.
“The other agendas included the development of a buffer zone around Lahore Fort and we have noted the suggestion of the board. The important thing was to declare the heritage properties and now we will be coming up with more properties to be declared as heritage in next meeting”, he concluded.