LAHORE : The Dilkash Lahore Committee has apparently dropped the idea of renaming Shadman Chowk after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in the face of opposition from rightwing religious groups and decided to instead rename it after poet Habib Jalib.
A press release issued on Wednesday night after a meeting of the committee said that it had recommended the following changes to the provincial government: Shadman Chowk be renamed after Habib Jalib, Bekhewal Chowk after Waris Mir, the Model Town Park roundabout after Hafeez Jullundhri, Hafeez Centre Chowk after Masood Khadarpoosh, Old Club Road after Hashim Khan, GC Chowk after Professor Ashfaq Ahmad, Kucheri Chowk after Professor Nazir, the GT Road Interchange after Sher Shah Suri and the DHA Interchange after Sir Justice Mian Abdul Rasheed.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Noorul Amin Mengal had earlier said that Shadman Chowk would be renamed after Bhagat Singh, the freedom fighter hanged at the spot almost a century ago, to acknowledge his struggle against British rule. The move drew opposition from the Tehreeki-Hurmat-i-Rasool, which challenged the move in the Lahore High Court. At the last hearing on November 30, the court had extended a stay order on the renaming of the chowk after Bhagat Singh.
The DCO told the committee on Wednesday that the suggested name changes had been advertised in the press. The press release from the city government did not mention the earlier plan to rename the chowk after Bhagat Singh.
Addressing the committee meeting, Dilkash Lahore Chairman Justice (retired) Khalilur Rehman Ramday said that minorities were the most important part of any society and the majority should respect them and their properties, according to the press release.
The DCO told the committee that Rs100 million had been earmarked for the Dilkash Lahore project, which aims to beautify the city and highlight its cultural wealth. He said that an archive of information on various historic parts of the city and its famous residents, called the Soona Lahore Research Centre, was being set up at the Town Hall was 90 per cent complete.
The DCO said that the Lahore Electric Supply Company had been paid for the removal of electrical wires and transformers from The Mall. Justice (retired) Ramday directed the DCO to pay heed to a suggestion from committee member Rafay Alam regarding the removal of electrical wires.
The chairman also ordered that the owner of the NICL building be directed to pay at least partly for the renovation of the building. He said that memorial stones with the name and history of important personalities should be built near their houses in the city.
Advisor to the Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq, journalist Rameeza Nizami, cartoonist Javed Iqbal, Dr Allama Khubair Azad, Quran Board Chairman Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Sialvi, Mian Yousaf Salahuddin, Sohail Warraich, Dr Ajaz Anwar, Saleema Hashmi, Naveed Shehzad, Javed Iqbal, Nayyar Ali Dada, Maulana Raghib Naeemi, the president of the Lahore Bar Association, Executive District Officer (Municipal Services) Khan Mehmood Tamana, Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Assistant Commissioner (City) Saira Umar and District Officer (SP) Umm-e-Laila also attended the meeting.