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Three jewels fading from Lahore’s architectural crown

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Three jewels fading from Lahore's architectural crown

Once a center stage for Mughal emperors and the Sikh dynasty after Delhi, Lahore enjoyed unmatched status due to its peculiar grand and awe-inspiring cultural heritage revealing centuries-old civilisations. 

Filled with some four centuries of majestic, far more than any other single city in Pakistan, Lahore has been boasting of the standards set by Mughal rulers through great edifices constructed to manifest their dignity and relics.

After Mughals (1526–1799); the Sikh (1799–1849) and the British rulers (1849–1947) continued adding to the beauty of this city by constructing serene tombs, mosques, gardens and other buildings that attract millions of tourists each year. 

But as the time took its course and many among of the grand pieces of architecture either faded away or totally disappeared from the map of this historic city with a few fast losing their beauty. 

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Tombs of Empress Nur Jahan, Nadira Begum and Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Kokaltash are among those few surviving against changing weathers and climatic impacts needing urgent attention of authorities.

The Tomb of Nur Jahan, a 17th-century mausoleum, is built nearby the tomb of Emperor Jahangir, Asif Khan and Akbari Sarai. The red sandstone mausoleum forms part of an ensemble of monuments in Lahore’s Shahdara Bagh.

Nur Jahan’s tomb was separated from other monuments by open fields which were later interrupted by construction of the Lahore-Peshawar Railway Line during the British era, damaging its beauty.

As the time passed, floors and walls of the tomb incurred damage with geometric and floral patterns lining the monument’s domes eroding and edges of marble flooring chipping off due to improper care of this edifice.

Nafees Omer, an artisan working on the site revealed that bringing this architecture to original form was a gigantic task as compared to an easy task of constructing something afresh.

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“The tomb stands in the center of a Persian-style Chaharbagh. The original landscape and premises that included roses, tulips, and jasmine gardens, no longer survive,” Nafees said.

Another edifice is the tomb of Nadira Begum, wife of Dara Shikoh who served as the governor of Lahore during the 1640s. In 1659, Dara Shikoh lost a war against his brother Aurangzeb and tried to flee to Iran along with his wife.

But, Nadira died of exhaustion and dysentery during journey and was buried in Lahore near the shrine of Hazrat Mian Mir, whom they both considered their “spiritual guide.”

A marvelous tomb was built in her memory that today stands in a dilapidated condition and is believed to be robbed of all semi-precious stones and costly marble during Ranjit Singh’s regime.

“The tomb, later on, fell prey to contemporary deterioration and vandalism, evident from gaudy graffiti on the mausoleum, with the ugly look of wall chalking,” said Mohsin Raza, a resident of Mian Mir locality.

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Comparatively unlike other Mughal tombs, this tomb was neither surrounded by gardens nor it had a dome and was built in a sunken water tank.

“Today it is in an overall dilapidated condition and is direly needed to be repaired besides refurbishing old missing calligraphy work,” Mohsin said.

Then there is tomb of Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Kokaltash. In contrast to many other buildings of that period, this octagonal tomb was composed of cut brickwork without any use of red sandstone.

It also appears miserable due to countless holes in facade and dome and the marble work that was stripped away with the passage of time.
The traces of tomb’s original elegance are still witnessed in beautifully carved stucco muqarnas (stalactite squinches), embellishing tops of the outer alcoves as its overall design is similar to Ali Mardan Khan’s tomb located a few kilometers to the North.

The dome of this monument was later repaired by the archaeology department, supporting it by a modern design brick pillar. But, muqarnas at the tops of alcoves are still damaged and need urgent restoration and renovation.

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Commenting on the situation, Director General Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) Kamran Lashari informed that the Authority had been diligently working for years on numerous conservation projects for preserving and reviving the glory of Mughal-era buildings.

“Over the years, we have been working on various architectural projects and gone a long way in restoring the heritage in this historic city,” Lashari said.

“Lahore has World Heritage sites comprising around 2,000 wonderful buildings. These buildings display a wide range of architectural features that reflect Lahore’s centuries-old heritage,” he added.

Lahore, being the largest and an important city in Punjab province had witnessed many eras, dynasties and rulers. Each dynasty or ruler left behind rich relics of culture and traditions.

The Tombs of Nur Jahan, Nadira Begum and Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Kokaltash are the wonderful jewels in the crown of this centuries-old city. But, their depletion pains historians, art lovers and tourists.

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Although the Punjab government has allocated Rs 600 million ($5.5 million) for fiscal 2022-23 for repairing and conserving archeological sites across the province including Lahore city, yet spending a bit more and paying proper attention could open avenues of earning more and more revenue.

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Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

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Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

 YouTuber and anchorperson Imran Riaz has been released following a court order that discharged him from charges of interference in official duties.

Imran Riaz’s lawyer, Mian Ali Ashfaq, confirmed the news on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

Media reports indicate that on May 29, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, Justice Aamer Farooq, allowed Imran Riaz to perform Hajj. However, despite the court’s permission, he was barred from travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj on June 3 and had to return home, stating his intent to seek court intervention again.

On June 12, the Islamabad High Court once more permitted Imran Riaz to proceed with Hajj. Yet, on the same day, he was arrested at Lahore Airport, clad in ihram, just as he was about to depart.

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A case under Section 406 for breach of trust was filed against him, but the Model Town Court in Lahore dismissed these charges on June 13. Nonetheless, he was rearrested in connection with another case.

This time, Imran Riaz was accused in a case registered at Sarwar Road Police Station in Lahore for allegedly interfering with official duties by forcibly driving his vehicle through an airport checkpoint, damaging a barrier.

However, on June 14, the Cantt Court in Lahore discharged Imran Riaz from the interference charges, leading to his release as per the court’s order.

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Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

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Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

Federal Information Minister Atta Tarar announced that health insurance for 5,000 journalists will be ensured in the first phase.

While addressing the media at the press club, Tarar stated that the government is committed to the welfare of journalists. He underlined the need to work together to serve the country. He also asserted the government’s belief in freedom of expression while stopping misinformation.

Also read: PPP standing with journalists over defamation law: Hassan Murtaza

Tarar highlighted that everyone must play a part in ending fake. He mentioned that a long meeting with journalists will be held soon saying that his doors are always open for them.

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Furthermore, Atta Tarar said that the government will ensure a minimum wage of Rs 37,000

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pakistan

Political parties must prioritise country’s progress: President Zardari

Political parties must prioritise country’s progress: President Zardari

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Political parties must prioritise country's progress: President Zardari

 President Asif Ali Zardari has emphasised that political parties must prioritise the country’s progress and prosperity by fulfilling their democratic and constitutional responsibility.

He was talking to Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday.

The president said we must only think about Pakistan and put aside personal differences.

He stressed the need to take Pakistan forward and everyone has to play his role in this regard.

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Speaking on the occasion, the Interior Minister said any challenge can be tackled through the power of unity and solidarity.

Besides, matters of mutual interest and country’s overall situation were discussed in the meeting.

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