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LAHORE:
The old clocks on the historic buildings of Lahore, which are now in a dilapidated condition, tell the story of a lack of interest of the government in preserving history.

Most of the historic buildings on which the clocks were installed were government facilities, while a few were private. They included Qurbata Chowk, MCH Building, Mayo Hospital, Town Hall, Postmaster General Office, Denga Singh Building, Old Campus Building of Punjab University and GC University Lahore.

Around 90 per cent of the clocks were on The Mall Road and the surrounding buildings. Most of the clock hands stopped moving, showing the exact time at which they had halted. It is difficult to determine which government department was responsible for fixing the clocks. In the city with ancient roots, the stalled clocks remind us of the days before the establishment of Pakistan.

There was a time when most people did not have watches to see the time. The time was observed by looking at the large and beautiful turret clocks installed on the historic buildings. It was ensured by ten local authorities that these clocks told the accurate time.

However, as time passed, the clocks began to be affected by neglect. Steps by the department concerned to fix the clocks and replace their faulty parts will bring to life a reminiscence of the country’s early years. However, no authority seems interested in giving a new life to the historic turret clocks and the prospects for the integral parts of the city’s landscape do not seem to be improving any time soon.

The clocks of GC University and Postmaster General Office are showing the wrong time while the hands of all others are stuck. The development works worth billions of rupees announced every year in Lahore never reached these clocks. No money could be spent on them and announcements in this regard also proved unfruitful.

A citizen said the old clocks on historic buildings on Mall Road also play a significant role in the beauty of Lahore. The World Bank and governments of other countries spend huge sums of money to preserve old buildings and objects around the world in order to maintain the beauty of the cities and increase tourism.

However, Punjab government, the metropolitan corporation as well as the related agencies are not paying attention to the condition of the turret clocks in the provincial capital. Like the clocks, the condition of the city is also deteriorating.

Reportedly, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), which is in charge of the inner city, had acquired the Shahi Qila, Badshahi Mosque and other historic small and large forts across Punjab along with several buildings of the archaeological department to restore them in their original condition.

However, the authority is not playing a role in repairing the clocks on Lahore's historic buildings. Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Usman told The Express Tribune that like the buildings of Lahore, the clocks attached to them were also very important. “They will definitely be repaired,” he claimed.

He said he had ordered Additional Commissioner Anwar Qadwai to conduct a citywide survey within a week and immediately repair the damaged buildings and submit a report.

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