LAHORE: The Lahore Walled City Authority (WCLA) has moved into the conservation of religious sites throughout Punjab under the leadership of the Punjab Government, Auqaf Department and Department of Human Rights and Minority Affairs, Pakistan Today learned here on Monday.
It was further learned that the conservation of eight Muslim shrines, one Hindu temple and six churches is carried out by the WCLA, while the funding for the shrines is provided by the Auqaf Department and the Human Rights Department Human Rights and Minority Affairs provides funds to WCLA for Temple and Church Conservation.
According to WCLA plans, these projects will be completed by 2023 while it is pertinent to mention here that these sites will remain with Auqaf Department and Human and Minority Rights Department as WCLA is not as the executing agency for the conservation works.
According to details provided by WCLA Official Spokesperson Tania Qureshi, Darbar Baba Farid-ud-din Ganj Shakar Pakpattan, Shrine of Hazrat Mian Meer, Shrine of Shah Husain, Shrine of Madhu Lal Hussain, Tomb of Baha-ud- din Zakriya, Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s Tomb, Hazrat Shah Shamas Shrine, Hazrat Bibi Pak Daman Shrine and Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Fareed Shrine, Kot Mithan are currently preserved by WCLA.
“WCLA also retains the churches and a temple which are Shivala Mandir Sialkot, St.Francis Assai Sahowala Sialkot, Nicolson Road Presbyterian Church Lahore, St.Marry the Virgin Cathedral Church Multan, Christ Church Rawalpindi, Sacred Heart Cathedral Church Lahore and Cathedral Church of The Resurrection Lahore. These are preserved using international conservation techniques and WCLA puts its heart and soul into this process,” said Tania.
WCLA Director of Conservation and Planning, Najam Usaqib, said: “60% of the work at St. Francis Assai Sahowala Catholic Church, Sialkot has been completed so far, while documentation (digitization 3D), sandblasting, chemical treatment, plinth protection, surface rendering and roof treatment is completed. Facade treatment and woodwork are in progress and will be completed soon.
“Additionally, 40% of works are complete at Shivala Temple in Sialkot, 80% of works are complete in Cathedral Church of Resurrection at Mall Road Lahore and works have also started in the other churches. The conservation and preservation of churches, shrines and temples will be carried out for the first time, in accordance with international conservation standards,” Najam explained.
Najam said work on shrines in Lahore and other cities in Punjab has also started and will be completed by 2023.
“We are improving the existing conditions of the shrines so that the zairins and the people who go there have better facilities and a better experience. This is our religious heritage and I am honored that the Auqaf department has engaged WCLA for this task.
“These works are being carried out in line with the vision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to promote religious tourism and religious harmony in the country. It is a great pride and honor for the WCLA team that the government of Punjab , Auqaf Department and Department of Human and Minority Rights have engaged WCLA as the executing agency for the conservation of these religious heritage sites in Punjab This is the need of the hour to save these sites religious heritage for future generations”.
“This project is not only to conserve the monument and the sites, but also to serve people as end users. It is a way to contribute to the cause of promoting religious harmony among the people and I must give credit to the Department of Auqaf and Minority Affairs for taking this step and funding these projects,” said WCLA Executive Director Kamran Lashari.