Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) (C 171)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1981
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 121,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount provided to the property: USD 975,000, UNESCO/Norway Funds-in-Trust, UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust, Getty Foundation, Embassy of the United States of America in Pakistan
Previous monitoring missions
October 2000: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2001 and June 2003: UNESCO Advisory missions; November 2005: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2009: joint UNESCO Tehran Office/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April/May 2012: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2018: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Housing; Land conversion (Encroachments and urban pressure)
- Management systems/management plan (Inadequate management mechanisms; lack of definition of boundaries of the Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens)
- Legal framework (Incomplete legislation)
- Financial resources (Lack of sufficient financial resources to implement management mechanisms)
- Underground transport infrastructure;
- Ground transport infrastructure (Development of the Orange Line Metro (aerial portion of the line))
- Demolition of two of the tanks and partial demolition of a third tank of the hydraulic works of the Shalamar Gardens (issue resolved)
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 5 February 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/documents/. A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission was carried out from 23-29 April 2018, further to the Committee’s request at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016). The mission report is also available at the link above. The State Party’s report provides information on progress with a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:
- The visual impact study for the Orange Line Metro project, completed by internationally recognized experts, concludes that visual impact from within the Gardens is minimal and can be further reduced by landscaping and visual improvement of the metro line area. Further measures will be taken as proposed in the project’s Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). Studies carried out to analyze possible impacts through vibrations have concluded that there is no threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and that reduction of traffic congestion, air pollution and noise will be a positive outcome of the metro line. Monuments are being continuously monitored and protective bracing and netting has been wrapped around the structures. In a final decision on the project, published on 8 December 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan granted approval to the project, although construction had already progressed significantly by that time;
- A high-level committee comprising several government departments and stakeholders was set up in 2016 to actively address the encroachment issue and to prepare a proposal for the enlargement of the buffer zone. The Urban Unit of the Department of Planning and Development has been commissioned to prepare a settings study. A survey is also being carried out to examine the cost of acquisition of properties within the buffer zone as well as the relocation of residents. Owing to the enormity of the task, a draft proposal for the enlargement of the Buffer Zone will take more time;
- Conservation work taking place at the property is carried out in accordance with international principles, and guidance is provided by a Technical Steering Committee comprising archaeologists, architects and engineers. For Lahore Fort, the budget for conservation has been considerably increased, and conservation and consolidation works are continuing. An international workshop, held in January 2018, reviewed and assessed the conservation methodology of the Picture Wall conservation project, and provided recommendations for conservation and intervention for further conservation. At the Shalamar Gardens, the conservation and consolidation of monuments has continued and the preservation and consolidation of the Hydraulic Tank has been completed. Fencing and landscaping will be completed after the construction of the Orange Line Metro Train project.
The Reactive Monitoring mission reported as follows on the Orange Line Metro project:
- While acknowledging the need for improved public transport in Lahore, the mission considers that the Orange Line Metro should have been planned so as to prevent adverse impacts on the property by avoiding running immediately in front of the main entrance to the Gardens;
- Two alternative schemes that could have led to an acceptable Metro alignment were not taken forward by the State Party;
- The Orange Line Metro is already nearing completion, and there is now no possibility of altering the route or fully mitigating its impacts;
- There is no doubt that the construction of the Orange Line Metro has irreversible impacts on the attributes relating to the artistic and aesthetic accomplishments, recognized at the time of inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, which notably highlight it as a masterpiece of human creative genius and as a unique and exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilisation at the height of its artistic and aesthetic accomplishments, in the 16th and 17th centuries;
- The property suffers from obvious and very significant visual and noise impacts, perceptible even from the second and third interior terraces, which impact on the perception and image of the site and on its appearance from both outside and inside the garden. The Shalamar Gardens will no longer be an oasis of peace, as originally intended, and the increased pollution could have highly adverse impacts on the stonework of the gardens;
- The fact that the alternative schemes were not appropriately considered and that the World Heritage Committee was not appropriately informed of details of this major infrastructure project highlights fundamental weaknesses in the protection and management of the property, which must be urgently addressed.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
While the efforts of the State Party to address the recommendations with regard to conservation of the property are acknowledged, little progress has been made since 2012 concerning control of urban development and encroachment, when the State Party was already in the process of enforcing the 200 ft-wide buffer zone. It is understood that, in the framework of Pakistan's legislation, this entails the relocation of inhabitants, although the lack of control over urban development and encroachment is clearly related to deficient management mechanisms and regulations.
In 2017, the Committee expressed its deep regrets that the State Party had not invited the Reactive Monitoring mission, as requested in Decision 40 COM 7B.43, and that no exhaustive impact assessments had been undertaken for this project, including the visual impact assessment requested by the Committee, in order to determine any and all impacts that the project may have on the OUV of the property, and thus whether and how these might be mitigated.
The joint mission finally took place in April 2018, following the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s December 2017 decision to approve the project, which was already nearing completion at the time. The mission found that, from 2007 onwards and until the World Heritage Centre received third-party information in October 2015 and requested feedback, the State Party failed to inform the World Heritage Committee of the Orange Line Metro project, despite the potential impacts of the project on the OUV of the property, as would have been its obligation in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. Nor did the State Party inform the 2012 mission to the Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, although the property had then been on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2000. The project was not mentioned in Section II of the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting (2011-2012) for the property (http://whc.unesco.org/document/164711). Additionally, the 2018 mission was unable to obtain information on the reasoning that led the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Punjab to issue, in November 2015, a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) for the project, based on the assessment by an Advisory Committee.
As highlighted by the 2018 mission’s conclusions, there is no doubt that the construction of the Orange Line Metro, which is set to pass just in front of the south side of Shalamar Gardens, has irreversible impacts on the attributes of OUV relating to the artistic and aesthetic accomplishments of the property at the time of its inscription.
In addition to the visual impacts of the new construction on the main perspectives to and from the property, and on its appearance from both outside and inside the garden, the property is to be further impacted by the heavy noise of the Orange Line Metro which, once it is in operation, will add to the already substantial noise and pollution impacts of the Grand Trunk Road. This masterpiece of Mughal construction will be removed even further from the oasis of peace and tranquillity that it was intended to be and thus, lose more its ability to convey its full meaning.
It is especially regrettable that such impacts could have been avoided, if the alternative routes presented to the 2018 Reactive Monitoring mission had been pursued.
In accordance with the conclusions of the 2018 mission, it is suggested that the Committee consider placing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, so that the State Party can show its good will to cooperate and proceed immediately with the full and exhaustive implementation of all mitigation measures and recommendations put forward by the mission. Finally, it is of crucial importance that, before any of the proposed measures are implemented, detailed project studies be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, and that implementation only start after positive feedback has been received.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.14
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add.2,
- Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B. 43 and 41 COM 7B.96, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
- Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to address the Committee’s recommendations with regard to the conservation of the property;
- Takes further note of the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that has given 31 directions with regard to protection, preservation and conservation of the property;
- Expresses concern that the State Party did not inform the World Heritage Committee of the Orange Line Metro project before any irreversible decision was taken, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, especially in view of the impacts of the metro line, and notably its route and construction process, on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- Also expresses concern that, despite the Committee’s previous decisions, the Orange Line Metro in Lahore has been almost completed without a satisfactory, comprehensive Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the project;
- Notes the efforts of the State Party in implementing all mitigation measures during the construction phase of Orange Line Metro Train Project (OLMTP) and requests that close monitoring and implementation of vibration control, noise, air pollution and visual mitigation measures directed in the order of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan and suggested in various studies will be ensured during the operation phase of Orange Line;
- Notes the impact on integrity and authenticity of the property;
- Takes note of the outcomes of the April 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, including the evaluation of the current condition of the property, and also requests the State Party to implement the mission’s recommendations;
- Further requests the State Party, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to submit, in relation to future projects, detailed project studies to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies and to ensure that implementation only start after positive feedback has been received from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, a report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.