–Committee chairman points out sluggishness of archaeology, auqaaf departments
–Justice (r) Sayed Zahid directs departments concerned to complete work within stipulated time frame
LAHORE: Former Supreme Court (SC) judge Sayed Zahid Hussain, who is the chairman of the Special Committee of Experts constituted by the apex court in the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) case, on Tuesday visited the buildings under Special Premises Ordinance and other monuments situated alongside the OLMT route.
He was accompanied by officials of the Punjab Archeology Department, Lahore Development Authority (LDA), NESPAK and other experts.
The committee visited seven sites, including the General Post Office (GPO), Shah Chiragh Mazar, SC’s Lahore Registry, St Andrew’s Church, the shrine of Mauj Dariya, Chauburji Gateway and the tomb of Zaibunnisa.
During the visit, LDA Project Director Hammadul Hassan briefed the committee of the cracks and other structural damages to the GPO building which had been repaired.
He also told the chairman that the boundary wall, footpath and drain of both GPO and the apex court registry had been fixed, however, work on the exhaust ducks and steel bars had not yet been completed.
The committee was further informed that LDA officials had undertaken the work on the storm drain and ramp outside the St Andrew’s Church.
The ongoing mosaic tile work on the Chauburji Gateway was appreciated by the former judge, who, however, expressed disappointment over the incomplete green belt despite the provision of necessary funds to the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA).
At this, the committee was told that debris was to be removed from the site within three days, following which PHA would start developing the green belt.
Auqaf Department Executive Engineer Rafique Noor apprised the committee of the ongoing renovation and conservation of the Shah Chiragh Mazar and explained that the paint, marble flooring, fresco, roof treatment among other jobs were to be completed by the end of February.
The chairman, along with other officials and committee members, also visited the Mauj Dariya shrine where they were told that three temporary stairs were built for the shrine while the construction of the retaining wall was halted due to the lack of funds.
Upon noticing the broken tiles at the entrance of the shrine, the former judge directed the department concerned to carry out necessary revamping at the earliest.
The committee directed the officials to remove the heaps of debris inside the tomb of Zaibunnisa while also undertaking the finishing of the red stone and fresco work of the tomb. It also said that the backside of the tomb needed to be repaired and cracks in the tomb filled on an urgent basis.
An official, who accompanied the committee during the visit, said that the Archaeology Department had claimed to have completed the work on the tomb of Zebunnisa and Chauburji, but a lot had yet to be done.
“The Auqaf Department is also continuing its work on quite a slow pace and the sluggishness of the departments was noticed by the committee chairman.”
They also quoted Justice (r) Sayed Zahid Hussain as saying that the heritage sites in Pakistan were a national asset and needed to be looked after.
Punjab Archaeology Department Deputy Director told Pakistan Today that the visits were made on Monday and Tuesday.
“We have been directed to complete the work within the given deadlines whereas the works on Zebunnisa’s tomb are 98 per cent complete and green belt of Chauburji will be completed by February this year,” he said.