US ambassador to Pakistan Donald Armin Blome on Monday visited historic Wazir Khan Mosque in the old city and praised the cultural heritage of Lahore.
During his three-day maiden visit to the provincial capital since his arrival in Pakistan, the US ambassador will visit various places besides watching the flag-lowering ceremony at the Wahga. He will also watch the Pakistan-England T20I match at the Gaddafi stadium during his sojourn.
Wazir Khan Mosque, since 2009, has been restored and preserved through the Ambassador’s Fund while the work on the restoration of the domes inside and different shops and ‘hujras’ outside the mosque was in progress.
Speaking on the occasion, Blome said Lahore was custodian of the rich cultural heritage and the United States government is proud of playing its role in the preservation of the cultural sites in the different parts of the country through the Ambassador’s Fund, adding that some 32 such cultural sites were preserved in the country through the US funding since 2001.
“It is inspiring to see work done at this cultural heritage of such magnitude and it continues to be done. The United States government is committed to preserve the cultural heritage sites in Pakistan and the projects like this exemplify depth and breadth of our partnership”, the diplomat said, adding that he looks forward to continue the Pak-US partnership in future.
Terming people to people contacts as strength of US-Pak bilateral relations, the ambassador underlined the importance of the people to people contacts, adding that the projects like this add to the community bonding. He said the Pakistani community in the US was playing a vital role in furthering the mutual ties.
Donald A. Blome said, “Pakistan is passing through the most difficult times due to the incessant flooding in most parts of the country and was saddened by the loss of lives and livelihood”, adding that the United States government stands side by side with Pakistan.
The US envoy said his visit to the city was significant as Pakistan and the US celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties, adding such projects were hoped to shape the surroundings and future of our children.
Ambassador Blome was accompanied by US Counsel General Lahore William K. Makaneole, Public Affairs officer US Consulate Lahore Bryce A. Isham and Deputy PAO Carl R. Rogers.
Earlier, the Director General Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA) Kamran Lashari briefed Ambassador Donald Blome on the restoration and preservation at the Wazir Khan Mosque. He also shed light on the restoration of other cultural heritage sites by the WCLA.
The ambassador Donald Blome visited different parts of the 17th century Mughal era mosque. He was shown round the houses renovated on the Northern side of the gate while had had the aerial view of the mosque from the adjacent roofs. Blome also visited the mosque and hailed the intricate faience tile work and the fresco on the interior surface of the mosque. He also showed keen interest in the calligraphy work.
The ambassador visited different artifact shops in the outer courtyard of the mosque and interacted with the shop keepers. He admired the tireless efforts of the architects, artists and the artisan in restoring the beauty of the spectacular place.