VIII.30 Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore (Pakistan)
The World Heritage Centre informed the Committee that the Director-General of UNESCO had received a letter dated 27 November 2000 from the authorities of Pakistan requesting the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Shalamar Gardens on the List of World Heritage in Danger. In the letter, the authorities of Pakistan informed the Director-General that the State Party recognised the urgent need to restore the damaged part of the outer walls and hydraulic works of Shalamar Gardens. Reiterating the great importance attached to activities for protecting the World Heritage sites located in Pakistan, the Director- General was assured that all necessary steps would be taken to ensure proper renovation and restoration of these unique gardens, which are not only an important cultural heritage landmark in the historic city of Lahore, but also a site visited by thousands of people. The authorities informed the Secretariat that the Department of Archaeology and Museums of the Ministry of Culture, and the local authorities concerned are actively co-operating to ensure that the gardens remain intact and do not suffer any further deterioration.
Through this letter, the Government of Pakistan expressed its appreciation for continued assistance from the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Centre for the conservation and development of the Shalamar Gardens. By nominating the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the State Party expressed its hope to increase public awareness both nationally and internationally on the importance of preserving this Moghul exemplary site of World Heritage of value, which continues to be a living cultural heritage site. The Committee examined the state of conservation of Shalamar Gardens and the deliberations of the Bureau during the twenty-fourth extraordinary session, and took note of the request by the State Party to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Committee expressed serious concern over the complete loss of two of the three hydraulic works and the partial demolition of the third hydraulic work. Recognising that the property is threatened by serious and specific danger, necessitating major operations to ensure the protection of these essential components of the historic monumental and garden complex within the property, the Committee decided to inscribe the Fort and Shalamar Gardens on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
While appreciating the co-operation between the central and local authorities concerned to enhance the conservation of the Shalamar Gardens, the Committee requested the State Party:
- to prohibit parking on the site of the first and second tanks as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the archaeological remains;.
- to fence off the site on which these remains are located from the immediate surrounding so that it is no longer directly accessible;
- to consolidate the remaining foundations of the two tanks as an archaeological relic and take measures to prevent further deterioration of what still remains of the third tank with its brick arches, in order to safeguard the remains of the former hydraulic works;
- to define and implement a "rescue programme" as soon as possible, as recommended by the ICOMOS-UNESCO reactive monitoring mission (October 2000) in close co-operation with the World Heritage Centre;
The Committee requested the State Party to provide clarification concerning ownership, land use and the legal status of the land within 60 metres of these hydraulic works, particularly in view of the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, applicable to this site.
Finally, the Committee underlined that the damage to this property illustrates a case where world heritage values of a property had been severely undermined due to insufficient attention given to conservation needs in the planning and implementation of public works.