Walled City lahore Authority

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An aerial shot of Lahores old Walled City —Satellite grab
rchive Photo, Dawn com dated July 27, 2009

It was originally an idea set going by a few economists from Lahore working in the World Bank in Washington. Every time they came home they were shocked to see their own old walled city crumbling and decaying. Their stories about the romance of life there needed “better visual support”. Economists come up with strange descriptions.

Then one day the World Bank approached the Government of the Punjab, urging them to `develop` the old walled city. Ideas from experts of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture gave it concrete shape. From these ideas emerged a World Bank-funded Sustainable Development of Walled City Lahore Project or SDWCLP. The central idea was to save the fabled ancient city, once one of the five wonder cities of the Islamic world. Everyone supported the idea, except the trading class and their transport suppliers, for they have managed to get an iron grip on the physical possession of the city. For them it means profit not earned. They just had to destroy ancient dwellings, and replace them with ugly concrete warehouses. Politicians support these traders in the wrong belief that they will lose votes. A deadlock resulted. In such circumstances emerged the project. It was, by any reckoning a difficult task, and one the bureaucrats of the Punjab just could not deliver.


But there is a down side to all this effort. The greater plan to save Lahore needs the active support of Lahore`s business houses, so that the entire transport system at Badami Bagh is dismantled and shifted across the River Ravi. The solution is not to throw out traders, but to provide them with a better place to expand their work. That is why, I understand, the Punjab Government is planning to build a `New Lahore Walled City` on the other side of the river between the motorway and Saggian bridges. What a wonderful idea, and one hopes Shabaz Sharif has the nerve and muscle to carry out his plan. If he manages this, he will surely be assisted by the World Bank. His intent is, so far, missing.

Read complete article at Dawn com

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