Friday Jan 10, 2020
In violation of the Punjab government’s regulations, a wedding event was held on Thursday night in the over 400-year-old royal kitchen in the Lahore Fort.
The incident was first reported on Twitter, where pictures from the mehindi event were uploaded, triggering a public outcry.
A tour guide who works at the Fort, told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity, that the kitchen was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. “It was lying in ruins till 2014, when it was restored by the Walled City of Lahore Authority and opened to the public.” The Authority is a semi-government organization which overlooks the restoration of Lahore’s old city.
The Fort has been recognized by the UNESCO as an endangered monument and has been listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger.
Moreover, Pakistan's Federal Antiquities Act 1975 governs the Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens. The Act states that the “protected immovable antiquity shall not be used for any purpose inconsistent with its character or for a purpose other than that directly related to its administration and preservation.”
Kamran Lashari, the director general of the Walled City of Lahore Authority, told Geo.tv that the event was confined to the royal kitchen, which is segregated from the rest of the Fort. “Company events are allowed at this venue,” he said, “Also, the event of last night was not a wedding. I asked my people and they told me no stage was set up.”
However, pictures posted by those who attended last night’s gathering clearly show it was a mehindi event held inside the 400-year-old Mughal era kitchen.
"It was not a wedding event, it was a CORPORATE DINNER," the Walled City of Lahore Authority said in a tweet from their official account.
"It was an event by the Fatima Fertilizer Company and the permission was taken for the corporate dinner but they held this event and legal action is being taken against them."
Chief Secretary Punjab taking notice of the event suspended the fort's in-charge Bilal Tahir.