The Punjab government’s decision to extend the scope of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) to the rest of the province—turning it into Walled City and Heritage Area Authority Punjab—will help preserve heritage sites across the province.

Too long have important historical spots in Multan and beyond not been given their due share in both tourism and restoration efforts. The focus has traditionally always been on Lahore, but with a new authority that looks to the rest of the province as well, the productive work WCLA has been carrying out in the old city of Lahore will carry through in other regions of the province.

Lahore has seen great improvement in its tourism scene in the last two decades or so. Where once, most of the older parts were lying ignored, there are now modern efforts at promoting tourism through walkabout tours, exhibitions and other creative initiatives; with the added attraction of the sights and sounds of a place rich with history.

These places demand preservation if for nothing other than the fact that they provide a lasting connection with our past. But even pragmatically, the potential benefits they hold for the economy are too many to be wasted. Only active policy decisions such as extending efforts to preserve heritage sites will help in making Pakistan a tourism-friendly country where wealth from this industry is not only centred in established hotspots.

Recent reports from Sindh indicate that Karachi could do with some heritage preservation of its own. The news that the Singh Building Control Authority has identified 55 heritage sites as dangerous and unsafe, tells us that there is an urgent need to take action. Punjab has taken a significant step in heritage protection—it is hoped that other provinces also look to take necessary action.