Islamabad, 8 July 2022 (TDI): Secretary for Economic Affairs Pakistan, Mian Asad Hayaud Din, and Ambassador of France to Pakistan, Nicolas Galey signed a financial agreement on Friday.

Through Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), the French government has agreed to provide a soft loan of € 22 million. This is to extend technical and financial support for Lahore Fort’s and its surrounding areas’ renovation.

The “Heritage and Urban Regeneration in Lahore” (HURL) is a part of the developmental plan of Walled City. This project aims to restore and protect Pakistan’s unique heritage sites.

French Ambassador’s statement

Nicolas Galey said, “France is proud to be part of the Punjab Government’s plan to promote and develop cultural heritage. The development and restoration of Lahore Fort and its surroundings would be a powerful source towards sustainable economic development”.

Moreover, the Director-General of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), Kamran Lashari was also presented at the signing ceremony. He thanked and appreciated the efforts done by the French government and Economic Affairs Division (EAD).

 The HURL project’s financing will span over a period of five years. It is expected to

  • Contribute to Lahore Fort’s restoration.
  • Expand development in tourism by including the fort’s buffer zone as a growth interference
  • Furthermore, Generate employment opportunities, especially for the transgender community and women
  • Build Walled City of Lahore Authority’s (WCLA) capacity among its partners.

The Lahore Fort is an ancient site, built around 500 years before. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), listed it as a World Heritage site in danger in 1981.

UNESCO indicated many threats to Fort’s integrity. Hence, the Government of Punjab, the Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), jointly with the Walled City of Lahore Authority have started initiatives for site conservation.

France is also supporting this conservation initiative of Fort. It is the first time that the French government has taken steps to rehabilitate heritage in South Asia.