No conservation work on Isa Khan Tarkhan monument done: Kanasiro

KARACHI:Director-General Antiquities Sindh Manzoor Ahmed Kanasiro has refuted the print and social media reports regarding the Makli Necropolis and has clarified that no work of conservation has been carried out on the main monument of Isa Khan Tarkhan.

A press statement issued by the Directorate of Antiquities, Government of Sindh on Sunday reads, “It is only the work on the floor of the Monument that was carried out during September 2019 and was completed in March 2020.

“No work has been done since last nine months”, said Kanasiro. He said that it is unfortunate to see that news reports had been published without investigating the facts or even taking the narrative of the department that was necessary for the objective reporting.

He further clarified that the work done previously was as per the internationally recognized Conservation charter/ Manual in 2019, and under the strict supervision of very senior and well-trained conservationists having more than 30 years of experience of working on all world heritage sites of Pakistan.

Kanasiro declared that the old photos of work that are being circulated on social media are totally misleading and contrary to the fact. Whereas the fact is the intervention done by the department has rather preserved the monument of the 16th-century monument of Mirza Essa Khan Turkhan’s Mausoleum in Makli Necropolis.

The Press Statement issued by the Directorate of Antiquities further elaborated the technical details of the Mausoleum that the floor of the monument was not original as it was disclosed as a result of its study. The study showed that the thickness of the original stone used in the other monuments was four inches whereas the thickness of the floor removed from the monument of Isa Khan was not the same. The original stone floor was laid on about 3 inches of lime concrete in other monuments and it was not the case with the said floor stone.

It further explained that the original stones of the floor in other monuments set in lime water while the replaced stones in the Isa Khan were laid down without any mortar. It has been understood that the original floor was replaced by the Archaeological Survey of India before the partition and was repaired by the Federal department of Archaeology at regular intervals later on. As result of the study of stone floor weaknesses, the unique and historical building of the Mausoleum of Mirza Essa Khan was highly endangered due to the penetration of rainwater in floor/foundation the measures taken to prolong the life of any monument keeping in view article 9 and 10 of Charter of Venice 1964.

The technical details, as stated in the official handout, further said that the unique and only double story Monument is more important than the uneven decayed floor. As intervened floor stones were not only settled/caved in but also too crumbled badly to reset again.

DG Antiquities said that the replacement of the decayed floor was essential to drain out the rainwater properly so as to stop further settlement and tilting of the monument. As the monument had settled down from its original position and a front portion had tilted due to penetration and non-drainage of rainwater. “It was feared that if no action was taken, the state of the monument would have further deteriorated”, he said.

Kanasiro cited the similar interventions that have been done on the other World Heritage sites in Pakistan and said that we may quote the examples of Restoration work of floor of Shish Mahal that was replaced with Sanga Badal in Lahore Fort, the roof of Shish Mahal, Dewanay Khas with white Marble in Lahore Fort, basement chamber of shish Mahal and many other Monuments in Lahore Fort.