LAHORE - The Walled City of Lahore Authority has been working on inner area of historic Wazir Khan Mosque, for rehabilitation of its southern façade, western façade, urban rehabilitation of neighborhood context and acquisition of properties in Chowk Wazir Khan.

The Chowk Wazir Khan project is to conserve the cultural heritage of the tentative world heritage monument at international standards and maintain them for future generations.

The scope of the project is PC-1 amounting Rs533.057 million for the conservation of Wazir khan mosque over the period of five years.

An amount of Rs200m, under Annual development programme funds, has been allocated during the ongoing financial year (2016-2017).

An appropriate and effective system of display will be designed and implemented in its historic context. The urban design and rehabilitation of Chowk Wazir Khan will be integrated with the conservation design of the mosque.

There is no duplication/ repetition of work between PC-1 WKM and work done by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP) through foreign funding.

The WCLA aims to preserve the rich ornamentation of tile mosaic, Fresco painting and brick imitation work which is going to attract local and foreign tourists.

The conservation and restoration of surface ornamentation includes fresco painting work, Galib kari/ stucco tracery work, red sand stone, terracotta jails, marble work, mosaic tile work, lime plaster, pucca qalai plaster and brick imitation work.

Consolidation of the structure of the mosque with focus on foundations, roofs, minarets and domes. Repair of building fabric such as external walls, interior walls, floors and stairs.

Talking to The Nation, WCLA’s senior architect Azeem Dad Khan said “Appropriate design is taken to clear the Chowk of all illegal construction and encroachment through compensation and acquisition.”

“The area of Mosque and the Chowk is badly affected due to unplanned development and encroachments in the forms of houses and shops. We cannot take action abruptly because they are staying there since six decades. The government planned to demolish all those shops and houses falling near to the mosque and announced to pay to the owners as per a decided rate,” Azeem added.

Walled City Lahore Authority Deputy Director Tania Qureshi was of the view that “we are standing to revive the cultural activities in Walled city Lahore.”

Through this project, she added, “we plan to strengthen the economy of the country through local and foreign tourists.”

“With the passage of time the levels of road on northern side and open area on eastern side of Mosque were raised and hujras and shops were filled and blocked and several encroachments snatched the beauty of the open space.

“With the technical assistance of Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan we planned to conserve the open space outside the Mosque, so that the beauty of the Mosque is not injured further. Beside other consolidation and repair works of the mosque structure, it was also decided to repair the shops and hujras, and restore the original floor levels of Shah Jahan period in front of main entrance of the Mosque,” she further said.