1.         Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) (C 171)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2000-2012

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 121,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 975,000, Norwegian Funds-in-Trust, Japanese Funds-in-Trust, Getty Foundation, United States Embassy in Pakistan

Previous monitoring missions

October 2000: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2001 and June 2003: UNESCO experts 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

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 30 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/171/documents and addresses a number of conservation issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

By the time of the preparation of this working document, no visual impact study or detailed report on the progress made with the enlargement of the buffer zone has reached the World Heritage Centre. It should be noted that the State Party already reported in 2016 that it had begun the process of revising the buffer zone. Therefore, it would be important for the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to receive a draft of this proposal, so that a technical review can be provided.

The conservation works undertaken at the Lahore Fort and the ones currently ongoing at the Shalamar Gardens are well noted. The State Party should however ensure that all such work is documented and that the necessary archaeological inputs are provided.

Concerning the Orange Line Metro project, little detailed information has been provided in the State Party’s report. The Government of Punjab has appealed against the verdict of the Lahore High Court in August 2016, which stopped all construction work within 61 meters of eleven heritage buildings, including the Shalamar Gardens and five other special premises in Lahore. However, work has progressed on the elevated metro line in all the areas beyond this 60-metres limit, and by the time of the preparation of this working document, construction work had reached 113 m to the west and 345 m to the East of the entrance to the Shalamar Gardens. In addition, the average distance between the proposed elevated viaduct deck and the Shalamar Gardens is 17.8 m from the south-west corner and 24 m from the south-east corner of Shalamar Gardens, while the minimum distance of the proposed viaduct from the main entrance of Shalamar Gardens is 36.1 m and the minimum distance from the proposed pier of the viaduct is 41.1 m. The vertical distance from the bottom of the proposed deck is 12 m from the road level.

Although in its report, the State Party argues that, on the basis of the report elaborated by the Pakistani engineering firm carrying out the project (NESPAK), there would be no potential negative impact on the Shalamar Gardens arising from vibrations on structures near the track, it should be underlined that the full potential impact of the project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Shalamar Gardens goes far beyond the potential impact of vibrations.

As the requested visual impact assessment has not been completed, and since no comprehensive Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in line with the ICOMOS Guidelines has been carried out to address not only the issue of vibrations, but also the visual and noise impacts, the full impact of the Orange Line Metro project is yet to be formally defined. It must also be noted that the HIA submitted by the State Party in 2016 was not in line with internationally recommended standards for such studies, and hence failed to address the full range of impacts of the project. It is therefore not clear on which grounds the State Party concluded that the Orange Line Metro project would have no negative impacts on the OUV of the property, nor on what basis the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Punjab issued a Non-objection Certificate for this project.

Since the Committee considered the project last year, construction work has continued on both sides of the Shalamar Gardens to such an extent that it is already impacting on the setting and integrity of the Shalamar gardens. If the existing sections are joined by an elevated track passing in front of the Shalamar gardens at very close distance, as detailed above, this will irreversibly compromise the authenticity and integrity of the property, thereby potentially threatening its OUV.

Taking into consideration  (i) the impacts of the ongoing construction work on the setting and integrity of the Gardens;  (ii) the absence of a comprehensive management mechanism which can control and monitor urban encroachment as well as the related development projects in the vicinity of the property; and (iii) the absence of any mitigation measures proposed by the State Party, it is recommended that the Committee immediately inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179(b) of the Operational Guidelines.

It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to immediately invite a Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, with a view to considering whether and how comprehensive mitigation measures might be defined, and what measures could be implemented to reverse these threats, in consultation with key provincial and national stakeholders. It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to immediately stop construction work on the Orange Metro Line where it approaches the Shalamar Gardens.  

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.96

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.43, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Notes that the Reactive Monitoring mission will be invited immediately after the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan is announced;
  4. Also notes that the State Party is undertaking measures to control and monitor urban encroachments and stresses upon the need to expedite this process as far as possible and requests the State Party to further improve the collaboration with related national and local authorities in implementation of the Management Plan;
  5. Requests the State Party:
    1. to urgently complete and share with the World Heritage Centre the Visual Impact Study as decided by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session as soon as possible, and at the latest on 1 December 2017;
    2. to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the property immediately after the announcement of the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, to examine the Orange Line Metro Train project and to discuss the same with the relevant Government authorities and to review the management and protection arrangements of the property;
  6. Considers that the highest priority must be given to considering how the Shalamar Gardens and their spiritual associations can be sustained alongside any necessary measures to satisfy the needs of a growing city, by setting out the precise and detailed nature of the potential impacts of the Orange Line Metro project on the OUV of the property, and whether and how mitigation measures can be undertaken;
  7. Reiterates the great need to adequately manage and effectively control encroachment and urban development in and around the property, and therefore further requests the State Party to immediately undertake setting studies and procedures in this regard, which will be taken into account when proposing an enlargement of the property’s buffer zone;
  8. Notes the conservation work that has been undertaken at Lahore Fort and is in progress at the Shalamar Gardens, and requests furthermore the State Party to ensure that all such work is documented, together with any necessary archaeological inputs;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.