Shalimar Gardens in ruins

 "I have come to the historic gardens after eight years. I am horrified that there is not even a single flower to behold here. I have wasted my money and time," said Aftab Abbassi, a resident of Sukkur.

Shalimar Gardens, which was once renowned for its green lawns now looks like a barren piece of land. Many varieties of trees which used to grow at the gardens' premises have now disappeared. Cypres trees which once adorned the garden are no where to be found.

UNESCO started preservation and renovation of the garden around one year ago. The Archaeology Department supervised the project named as "Preservation, Conservation and Restoration" and the project is taking taken too continue.

Talking to The News, Punjab Archaeology Director General of Shehbaz Khan said Shalimar Gardens was transferred to Punjab Archaeology Department on August 2005. Prior to this, the federal government was responsible for its maintenance.

He said the Punjab chief minister approved Rs 3 crore for the gardens' renovation and the project was to take three years. He said the project will complete in three years. He said the renovation of the garden was taking a long time because the bricks used in the buildings were not readily available in the market. He said the bricks and tiles were specially manufactured and the process took a long time. by Hira Zahid and Zainab Batool

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