Pakistan has a long way to go when it comes to keeping its historical sites well-preserved and maintained. This observation is more relevant than ever now, seeing as how the UNESCO is all set to announce new locations to its “World Heritage in Danger” list.
Sheikha Haya Rashid Al-Khalifa of Bahrain will chair the UNESCO meeting in which UNESCO World Heritage List will be finalized between June 24 and July 4.
Reports say that as many as two Pakistani historical sites will be included in the new list.
The World Heritage List
As much as 30 sites have been nominated for inclusion in the list including two from Pakistan. Apart from Pakistan, two other places from Nepal and Kenya will be added to the list as well.
These are the two sites from Pakistan will be included in the list during the meeting in Bahrain if corrective mitigation measures are not carried out:
- Shalimar Gardens.
- Lahore Fort.
The issue of the demolition of the heritage sites in Lahore arose when the construction of Orange Line Metro commenced. Some even took the case to the court which eventually gave a go-ahead for its construction, despite protests from social activists.
A joint team from the World Heritage Centre (WHC) and ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission visited Shalimar Gardens in April. The team highlighted that the Orange Line’s construction will cause irreversible damage to the south entrance of the Gardens.
The team then proposed to add both locations in question to the World Heritage in Danger list in its 40th and 41st meetings. However, at that time after a long debate, the team decided not to proceed further with the matter.
The decision to put the decision on hold gives the government some time to develop a plan that can reduce the irreversible threat to the historical sites. However, before the government implements its plan, it would need to be reviewed by WHC.