LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Balochistan for conserving the Sandeman Fort in Zhob, Pakistan Today learnt on Monday.
The MoU was signed by the WCLA director conservation Najam us Saqib and Zhob Deputy Commissioner (DC) Taha Saleem.
It was further learnt that WCLA would provide technical assistance to the government of Balochistan for the conservation of the fort and other heritage sites whereas a meeting between the WCLA Director General (DG) Kamran Lashari and Balochistan Chief Minister (CM) Jam Kamal was also held to discuss the projects and scope of tourism keeping in view the policy of tourism by the new PTI government.
It was learnt that after the conservation the fort would be turned into a museum and would be opened for tourists whereas at present it has the accommodation of the Zhob DC, who has willingly decided to move his accommodation so that the fort can be conserved and restored.
The director conservation WCLA Najam Us Saquib while talking to Pakistan Today said, “WCLA would be providing technical assistance to the district administration of Zhob for conserving the Sandeman Fort. It is presently the office and residence of the DC Zhob whereas a part of the fort, which is almost 30 per cent, has collided with the passage of time.
The Zhob DC has agreed to vacate his residence and after the conservation is completed the fort will be converted into a museum and will also be opened for the public. The collided parts will be reconstructed as per given standards and DC residence will be moved to other small structures in the fort.
He further informed that this process would lead to the tourism and culture plan of the place as it needed much attention. “Zhob is important as it is located on the CPEC route and is at the junction connecting Punjab with KPK and Baluchistan. The road is already made with the state of art expertise and tourists will not be facing any difficulty in reaching the place”, Najam added.
About the history of the place, he said, “Zhob is located on the banks of Zhob River 337 km from Quetta. In December 1889 the town of Zhob, then known as Apozai, was occupied by the British and named Fort Sandeman after Sir Robert Sandeman. It obtained its current name on 30 July 1976 when the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had the name changed. This is a culturally and historically rich place and needs immediate preservation. It will surely be a hotspot for tourists once restored to its beauty”.