LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday gave green signal to walled city of Lahore authority for conservation of Royal Kitchen at Lahore Fort, one of the heritage sites of the world, observing that permission cannot be granted for the historical sites’ commercial use.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing the petition moved by Imrana Tiwana challenging construction of eatery/restaurant at the fort building.  She said that construction of the eatery in question is unlawful and tantamount to destroying the site which is also part of world heritage.

She pleaded the court that use of historical Fort for commercial purpose had put its conservation and beauty at stake, therefore, construction of eatery at Royal Kitchen should be set aside for being illegal and unlawful.

However, Advocate Khurram Chughtai, the counsel of Walled City of Lahore Authority, opposed the petition saying that no eatery/restaurant is being built at the site of Royal Kitchen rather conservation work was being carried out for its protection. The counsel said that no food is cooked there.

A lady who was representing Heritage Foundation told the court that whereas the matter related to conservation of Royal Kitchen is concerned it is correct but there is no reference of 17th century old shape of the Kitchen which could be preserved. On it, the Chief Justice observed that “the court will not allow use of Royal Kitchen for commercial purpose,”. 

The CJ also observed that the authority in its ad had mentioned that the food would be served at the Royal Kitchen. On it, the authority’s counsel said that “the correct words had not been used in the ad,”.  The reply irked the Chief Justice who observed that “who are you to say that the words used in the ad are not correct,”.

A 15-member meeting decided these words for the ad, the CJ said raising a question that “how can you say that these words are not correct,”.   The CJ  also remarked that why the authority has not been responding rightly and gave two weeks time to the authority’s counsel with directive to come up with reply that whether ‘fine dining’ could be allowed in the heart of fort and whether kiosk could be established there.

The court also warned the authority that the ad would be set aside if the authority failed to come up with convincing reply.