The Lahore High Court (LHC) has announced its verdict on petitions against the Orange Line and upheld a previous decision to stop construction within 200 feet of 11 heritage sites along the route.Supreme Court Lahore Registry, the General Post Office, the Aiwan-e-Auqaf, Saint Andrews Church and Mauj Dariya shrine are some of the sites considered to be demanded vastly.
Punjab provincial government claimed that in order to build the Orange Line Metro Train Project in the city no historic sites would be damaged. But in contrary to this claim many civil society organizations have held protests against the initiative of the government to eradicate number of historic sites to construct mega project. Some individuals and organizations working for the protection of historic places worked through the legal channels and finally they had their day in the court when court upheld the decision to stop construction.
It seems that government has not given any importance to indulge in consultation with the stakeholders and experts at a time when it was well known that few historic sites and buildings would be sacrificed for the completion of the project. Improving infrastructure is vital for the development of any society but historic sites also contain vital importance, incalculable value and reflection of our past. Therefore, in the wake of development historic places should never be bulldozed. Government also needs to comply with the orders of the court and needs to consider alternative options for the completion of the mega project. Construction is a manifestation of shortsightedness on the part of the Punjab government and only they should be blamed for spending huge public funds without proper planning.
Replacing centuries-old buildings and heritage sites in the wake of modern infrastructure should never be permitted.