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Two officials suspended over Allama Iqbal’s sculpture controversy in Lahore

Assuming the sculpture had been erected by the government, the social media users directed a savage criticism that it hardly resembled Iqbal.

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On Tuesday, Punjab Government had announced to renew and repair the sculpture of legendary poet Allama Iqbal installed at a park in Lahore.

The government came into action after intense social media reactions. A picture of the sculptor went viral on social media this weekend triggering a fierce debate. A majority of social media users believed that sculpture was of sub-standard quality and targeted the government for disrespecting the iconic poet of Pakistan.

Assuming the sculpture had been erected by the government, the social media users directed a savage criticism that it hardly resembled Iqbal. However, it was later revealed that the sculpture had been made and erected by the gardeners working in the park in a move to honor the legendary poet. The gardeners said they had built the sculpture from their pocket and had not received any monetary support from the government. They collected the scrap material to create a sculpture, however, lacked resources to paint it. Hence, they placed it in the raw form.

 

Yasir Gillani, the chairman of Park’s Horticulture Authority had said that no action will be taken against the gardeners since it was their love and reverence for Allama Iqbal, however, action will be taken against the officials.

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“Dear, this is prepared by maalis at their own, they made it in sheer love for Iqbal and to pay homage from their heart. Authority didn’t approve or even paid a single penny for it, Yasir Gillani, chairman of the PHA, had tweeted yesterday.

“WE WILL ADDRESS IT but can anyone see from maalis eye’s, their love and their عقیدت,” he wrote.

On Wednesday, the department announced it had suspended two officials, Shah Nawaz Wattoo, the Park’s Deputy Director Horticulture, and Assistant Director Horticulture, Ghulam Sibtain, for negligence in the duty. The press release stated that they have been found guilty of “inefficiency and negligence of duty”.

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The revelations changed the course of the debate on social media and it shifted to suggestions on resolving the issue. A large number of social media users agreed that the sculpture should be reinstalled after its renovation.

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