A study of significant historic buildings in Lahore leading towards the formulation of a national conservation policy for Pakistan
Historic buildings are memorials of human activity and serve as a link with the past. They are a trust and it is the duty of the present generation to ensure that they are passed on to posterity without their authenticity being impaired or their essential scheme of aesthetics and setting being altered. ) Pakistan is a rich repository of historic buildings. Such buildings are to be found in a variety of states of repair. Basic infrastructure for conservation and protection of historic monuments and archaeological sites exists in the country and some 355 examples of sites and monuments are being protected. The objective of the present study is to begin a systematic process of classifying the historic buildings in the country and to put forward an appropriate policy for the conservation of at least a reasonable proportion of them, bearing in mind the various constraints in the way of conservation. To achieve the aims of the study a broad range of information was collected on the workings of the present organisation for conservation in the country, the legislative system, other studies of a similar nature and the activities of professionals and voluntary bodies. A field survey was carried out to with regard to certain historic buildings in one city, Lahore, and information, based on the criteria established for the purpose, was collected on nearly 300 significant buildings. This related to their listed status and to their relationship to the major historic periods and covered various building types. Virtually all these buildings were standing at the close of 19th century. The collected information is analysed in detail and discussed critically with reference to the rate of loss of historic buildings during almost a century, various states of repair of the existing buildings, their architectural and historical values, present usage, ownership, responsibility for maintenance, sources of state finance for maintenance and possibilities of other sources of finance. It reveals that the present system of conservation is not fully adequate and needs to be improved. It is further identified that a better system could be established by involving the provincial and local governments and by encouraging the development of a proper building industry able to carry out the task of conservation. Detailed conclusions are drawn up and specific suggestions are made for the formulation of a national conservation policy for Pakistan.