Two PHA officials suspended over Allama Iqbal sculpture controversy

The Allama Iqbal Sculpture in Lahore. Photo: Fil

LAHORE: Two officials from the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) are suspended over the Allama Iqbal sculpture conflict on Tuesday.

According to a statement released by the PHA, the two officers have been suspended for “negligence and inefficiency”.

Shah Nawaz Wattoo, the park’s deputy director of horticulture and assistant director of horticulture, Ghulam Sibtain, has been suspended with “immediate effect”.

Pictures of the Allama Iqbal sculpture, built in a park in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area, went viral on social media after people pointed out that it hardly looked like the legendary poet.

Shortly after people started making fun of the sculpture, the PHA responded to the controversy by taking it down. The chairman of the authority tweeted that the sculpture was built by the park’s gardeners who had done it out of their devotion to Iqbal and paid from their own pocket for it.

“Dear, this is prepared by Maalier themselves, they did it out of pure love for Iqbal and to pay tribute from their heart. The authority did not approve or even pay a single penny for it ,, Yasir Gillani, chairman of PHA, had tweeted in walks.

Yasir had said that since the structure was built by the gardeners out of their own pocket money, nothing would be taken from them. However, he stated that clear directives had been issued to ensure that no sculpture was built inside the park without the permission of the park management.

Nadia Tufail, spokeswoman for the park in the city’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area, spoke to The News to confirm that the sculpture had been removed and will be set up again after necessary improvements.

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