‘Govt delays visas to UNESCO mission for OLMT project’



The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has alleged that the Government of Pakistan was delaying to the issuance of visas to the UNESCO’s Reactive Monitoring Mission to visit Lahore. This mission has to visit Lahore to understand the impacts of Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project on the world heritage sites of Lahore Fort/Shalamar Gardens and make recommendations.

A statement issued by ICOMOS’s Pakistan office stated that UNESCO repeatedly requested the Government of Pakistan to issue visas from January 9 to 12, 2017, so that they could investigate the impacts of the OLMT on different sites. The statement reads, “The obstruction in way of UNESCO – the highest international body for heritage protection, by the GoP is not in the long term interests of the people of Pakistan. If the train line poses no threat to listed heritage as the GoP claims, there is no reason why the government should not welcome the Reactive Monitoring Mission in compliance with Pakistan’s international and legal commitments.”

ICOMOS has stated that a letter was written by Ms Mechtild Rossler, Director, World Heritage Center, to Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal and Pakistan’s permanent delegate to UNESCO on October 29, 2015 regarding the OLMT and Shalamar Gardens. The letter stated, ‘The OLMT project can result in serious irreversible damage to Shalamar Gardens and the project should be stopped in the vicinity of Shalamar Gardens till the UNESCO advisory body have reviews and evaluates the project’.