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Metro train works near Shalamar: ‘Visas to UN monitoring mission being delayed’

LAHORE: The Punjab government is ignoring requests by the Unesco to facilitate the UN mission to investigate threats posed to Shalamar Gardens, a heritage site, due to works undertaken for the construction of Orange Line Metro Train.

A press release by the National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) blamed the provincial government for delaying issuance of visas to members of the Reactive Monitoring Mission (RMM).

“The dates requested by Unesco are Jan 9-12. The obstruction in the way of the Unesco – the highest international body for heritage protection – by the GoP is not in the long term interests of the people of Pakistan,” it said.

Dismissing the Icomos claim, the Punjab government said such visits were coordinated through the federal government. It said a visit by the RMM to some heritage sites in Punjab, Sindh and KP was due before September this year.
Punjab govt rejects claim

“As far this particular visit is concerned, the provincial government neither has any information nor it extended any invitation.”

The Icomos statement further said if the OLMT posed no threat to listed heritage, there was no reason why the government should not welcome the RMM in compliance with Pakistan’s international and legal commitments.

“The missions are part of the statutory reporting by the Secretariat and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. The costs of the Reactive Monitoring Missions are borne by the World Heritage Fund. There is no reason why this Mission should not be facilitated by the Government of Punjab.

“Icomos Pakistan strongly protests against this delaying tactic of the government and requests an early processing and issuing of visas to all members of Unesco’s Reactive Monitoring Mission.”

The press release claimed that the Orange Line Project could result in a serious irreversible damage to Shalamar Gardens and the project should be stopped in the vicinity of Shalamar Gardens till Unesco advisory bodies had reviewed and evaluated the project.

courtesy : dawn news

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