Lahore: Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif assures Historical Saint Andrew’s Church will suffer no property loss or damage of any sorts because of Orange Line Project.
In the wake of, ongoing rumours of the property of Lahore’s historic Saint Andrew’s church being expropriated by the provincial government. Owing to the rumours of that part of the property belonging to the church would fall into the project’s designed territory; Christians had been expressing great anger.
Local Christians along with church leaders had been protesting and expressing repulsion over the rumours that circulated prior to a clarification being presented by the Chief Minister of Punjab himself.
A clarification was posted on the social media giant Facebook on behalf of Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif. The Facebook post read: “I am seeing a lot of rumors circulating about proposed demolishing of some historical places for Orange Line Metro Train. I would officially like to declare such rumors as baseless and part of propaganda. Before initiating this project; it was our principled decision not to harm any historical place including Chuburji, GPO & St. Andrews Church etc.
I have personally presided over a number of meetings to ensure that all such landmarks are protected and preserved in their actual condition as they define the culture and heritage of Lahore. I have been informed that ‘Leader’ of a certain political party was also involved in spreading such rumors. I believe that national leaders must confirm facts before spreading a word because they influence and shape public opinion. We all must act responsibly as honorable citizens of Pakistan.”
In addition to CM Punjab, DG Development Authority Lahore clarified, “The alignment of Lahore orange line metro train project is not affecting the heritage assets such as Shalamar Garden, Buddhu’s Tomb, Gulabi Bagh Gateway at G.T road, Choburji, Tomb of Zeb-un-Nisa,GPO and Supreme Court building which are along the metro train alignment.
Special care has been taken by the designers in keeping away from the monuments by making curves where necessary in the given limitations so that heritage sites are protected besides minimising acquisition of private properties in the vicinity.”
Previously, it was being believed that the church property will be expropriated because the Orange Line Project. An official from the Saint Andrew’s Church, Jamshaid Rehmat Ullah said, “People came and marked the church in Haque’s absence. We do not even know which portion will be taken or which area they are considering. Our worship will be affected because the entire premise is used for church activities.”
Historic Saint Andrew’s Church is one of the heritage sites in Lahore. The church has been standing since 1860. Whereas, in accordance with the Antiquities Act, 1975, any building which predates May 1875 is referred to as ancient- seeing this church has the status of ancient and is a heritage of the city.
Moreover, according to the rumours, this project would pose a great threat to the security of the church. It was believed that the church lawn might fall into the project’s line.