KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has endorsed the concerns expressed by two key Special Rapporteurs of United Nations about Orange Metro Line in Lahore, which has resulted in numerous forced evictions and threatens a large number of protected heritage sites and historic buildings in the city.
It may be mentioned here that UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Leilani Farha and UN Special Rapporteurs in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune have echoed deep concern over the Orange Metro Line, being pursued by the PML-N government in Punjab capital without taking into consideration threats to the heritage and historic edifices of Lahore.
The UN Rapporteurs pointed in a communique to the international media that, “Lahore residents have been forced to vacate their homes and businesses with little to no notice, receiving in some areas only verbal information within days of demolition.”
They noted that the project passes through the historic center of Lahore, threatening pre-partition buildings, minority places of worships, historic tombs and shrines and great gardens, many of which are registered protected heritage sites.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PML-N government have not spared even the historic residence of great icon of democratic struggle Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and demolished it into rubbles despite knowing the importance of the place as center of democratic movements.
He also noted with grave concern to lack of information concerning the Orange Metro Line project and the fact that the route of the project has been changed several times since its initial public hearing. “Many have contested the project and its procedural flaws, and some cases taken to the courts are still pending,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari echoed the UN Rapporteurs concerns made public.
PPP Chairman pledged that PPP won’t allow the Nawaz Sharif to play havoc with history and heritage of the country and uproot poor people from abodes without any resettlement plan or compensation and asked the government to halt the demolitions. He said that PPP would take up the issue at every forum including Parliament to protect the poor people threatened with displacement, history and heritage of the country.