LAHORE - The Walled City of Lahore Authority is set to introduce a master plan to save cultural heritage from walled city’s commercial activities.

Under the Master Conservation Redevelopment Plan (MCRP), the WCLA aims to reclaim the area occupied by land grabbers. The authority is conducting comprehensive study on the aspects affecting the beauty of historical monuments located in the walled city including century’s old mosques and houses in the walled city, making it peaceful place for the tourists.

The MCRP is being prepared with consultation of Masood Khan, senior consultant at Agha Khan Trust. It will be finalised by this November.

“This master plan is need of the hour, as the challenge of commercial area in the city has taken over the space with the passage of time, and it has damaged the pride of national heritage,” WCLA Director Conservation Najamul Saqib said while talking to The Nation.

“Two initial surveys have been conducted in 2008 and 2015 to acquire or to transfer the land/property for commercial purposes. With passing of MRCP the final policy will be formed and till that on the direction of Lahore High Court that stayed the construction of commercial buildings in walled city,” he added.

He further said that the MCRP will include proper parking facility to avoid hustle and bustle in streets and roads and near historical buildings.

Commercial properties in the historical places are identified all over the world, and acquiring such properties is completely banned as it ruins the beauty of historical monuments, the WCLA director said. “According to the MCRP plan, the areas blocking the view of historical buildings will be classified and will be vacated with special power. For this, we are introducing special provisions in the plan,” Saqib added.

Such as, rim market is set up around Marium Zamani Mosque near Badami Bagh Adda blocking the view of such beautiful monument. Now the authorities are being conducted the socio-economic survey of on the situation prevailed and all other related situations will be cleared and reclaimed for the tourists. “Same situation is prevailed in Bansa Wala Bazar and near Shah Alam Market. A circular green park that was historical present around the walled city in Mughal’s era will be reclaimed and the idea will be execute once the MCRP is approved.

“We need the support of the local community and residents of the area and without them we could not complete such a huge task,” he further said.

Answering a query, the WCLA director said that the master plan will be based on 2008 survey conducted by Agha Khan Trust in the walled city; whereas a final draft will be presented before board of governors for final approval.

“With time to time we will update the list of commercial buildings before the court. Right now an initial list of 136 buildings is prepared by the authority in which many of government buildings are also being used for commercial purposes.