LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Thursday rapped the reported move to raze a part of the GPO building in the city for the Orange Line Metro Train project.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the HRCP described the move as “vandalism compounded by arrogance” and exhorted the government to review the project and desist from depriving citizens’ of the right to preserve their heritage. The commission said the development must have rattled all rights activists.
It had been earlier reported that a part of the heritage building had been marked for demolition to accommodate the train project. Previously, academics from the Punjab University (PU) had protested against the threat posed to the varsity by the same project.
The HRCP said it seemed that the government had resolved to continue its drive to destroy the character of the city after it had won a questionable carte blanche from the judiciary.
“Every student of history and culture knows that the GPO building and select property in Patiala Ground is a part of citizens’ heritage. The GPO building is a protected structure. The government must not forget that preservation of culture and heritage is a fundamental right. No government can be allowed to trifle with it. What is being done to the city amounts to vandalism compounded by arrogance, the commission said. The HRCP called on the government to review the train project and other initiatives that could compromise heritage buildings and spaces. It urged the government to make a categorical and irreversible commitment to ensuring adequate protection and conservation of heritage.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.