WCLA discovers British-era cannons in Lahore Fort


–Cannons had been buried under debris around fort’s Musamam Gate

–Authority plans to put cannons up for display following extraction from ground

LAHORE: During the conservation process of Lahore Fort’s Musamam Gate, two British-era cannons, which were buried under debris, have been discovered by the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), Pakistan Today has learnt.

The cannons were buried under two to three feet of debris that gad gathered over the passage of time around the Musamam Gate as no maintenance work had been carried out in the area earlier, sources said.

The area was a no go site for tourists as the gate was in a dilapidated condition and had not been restored for ages whereas the debris around it had also not been cleaned, sources added.

On visiting the location, Pakistan Today learnt that WCLA was working on the conservation of the Musamam Gate and British-era Barood Khana (arsenal depot) while removing the wild plantation that had grown there over time. It was observed that the black heavy metal cannons were buried in the ground and now WCLA was taking up the cleaning of the cannons and placing them inside the fort for tourists.

A crown and different numbers have also been engraved on the cannons, which are clearly visible and endorse that they belonged to the colonial times.

WCLA senior architect and in charge of restoration work on the site, Azeem Dad, told Pakistan Today that they discovered the cannons while removing debris from the area around the Musamam Gate of Lahore Fort and would be extracting them from the ground soon to place them on a visible location inside the fort.

“The place around Musamam Gate had not been cleaned for ages. As WCLA initiated the conservation process, we started removing the two to three feet debris and discovered the cannons. We are finalising the location of their placement inside the fort and require a lifter crane to move them owing to their weight,” Azeem said.

WCLA Media and Marketing Deputy Director Tania informed Pakistan Today that the Musamam Gate was constructed during Shah Jahan’s era whereas the main royal ramp and Barood Khana were constructed by the British when they took over the fort.

“The cannons near Musamam Gate and Barood Khana make sense as the British made army barracks near these areas according to historical accounts,” Tania added.

A tourist, Misbah Baig, when informed about the findings, showed interest and said, “The cannons should be placed for public viewing and a brief history of the cannons, the British Raj and WCLA’s discovery should be displayed along.”

WCLA Conservation and Planning Director Najam Saquib told Pakistan Today that the cannons were in good condition and once they were taken out of the ground they would be placed at a prominent location for the tourists.

“We are proposing the area around the British Bridge, Barood Khana and British Jail for the placement of the cannons. We have to see several aspects before the placement of cannons as they have massive structure and should not hamper the movement of the tourists,” Najam added.