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Memorial for the martyrs of 1947 partition still incomplete after 31 years

Bab-e-Pakistan

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14th August, a day marked with blood in the pages of history. A day that is not only remembered for India-Pakistan partition but also for the sacrifices made to make it possible. On this day, hundreds of thousands of Muslims and multiethnic migrants entered Pakistan to become a part of a journey that was yet to begin. Men were butchered, women were raped, and scenes of intense carnage were seen in this part of the world. Other problems awaited in the refugee camps for those who were left to start a life from scratch. Each one of them died a martyr, massacred for a dream that they had envisaged long ago. In 1985, after long wait, to commemorate these martyrs, former Governor Punjab Ghulam Jilani planned to conceive a memorial and was approved by General Zia ul Haq.

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Sadly they could not get the ball rolling on the construction of the memorial due to the political instability of the country after the death of general Zia ul Haq in 1988. In 1993, General Ghulam Haider Wyne again tried to proceed with the construction of this project but was held back. In 1995 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation of the memorial to kick start its construction, but all in vain. Later in 2005 under the presidency of General Pervaiz Musharaf, 2.44 million were announced to fund the construction of this project and it was set to finish in 2014. But due to various reasons the plan was obstructed.

In 2016, what was supposed to display the struggle and blood history of our roots, now presents the view of a wreck. Named as Bab-e-Pakistan, a 150 feet wide memorial that was supposed to be a tourist attraction now lies in shambles wondering what future has in hold for it. The memorial was planned to consist of schools, a garden, museum, restaurant and an art gallery. Some of the planned components of Bab-e-Pakistan for future are Conference Centre, Amusement Park, Food Courts, Sound & Light Shows, Sports Complex, Cineplex and Library. It was deliberated to be the incarnation of 1947 partition and represent what remains to be one of the biggest immigration events in the history of the world. But even after 31 years of its envisioning, the idea still remains in its preliminary stages.

More than 1 billion rupees were allotted for the completion of this project. A lot has already been spent on this memorial but every time it grabs the attention of the local authority, it is always hindered by something. CM Shahbaz Sharif looked determined to get this project on the running again,a couple of years back, but nothing substantial came out of it. The architect hired for this job is a NCA graduate Amjad Mukhtar who claims that the careless attitude of the provincial governing body is the reason behind all of this. He also believes that it will take double the amount of funds required a year before to get over with this project. On the other hand, Parliamentary Secretary Information and Culture Rana Arshad believes that the current architecture consultant has failed to cope with the deadline and impress with results. Therefore, he needs to be replaced by a fresh yet dedicated consultant. In between all of this, Bab-e-Pakistan, still awaits its destiny.