I repeat, the graveyards in Lahore are a disgrace!
Beginning with the historic Miani Sahib Graveyard on Bahawalpur Road, there is much that needs to be done to make the graveyards in Lahore functional.
Litter and Filth Dominate the Graveyard's Landscape
The current level of disrepair at Miani Sahib is an insult to the memory of all who now rest within
it's grounds. Garbage is found everywhere, on top of the graves, littering the dirt paths and even crowding the roads surrounding the area. Making your way in Miani Sahib is a stressful experience, as you never know when you may step on animal litter, or rotting animal/human (?)bones. Musicians and dholwallas playing music at all hours is another unpleasant discovery as it offends the religious and spiritual sensibilities of most of the visitors.
Nowhere to Step!
There is nowhere to walk without stepping on the dilapidated graves themselves. The few walkways and pathways have now been converted into newer graves. Many of the graves are damaged and crumbling at the edges after to being stepped upon by visitors; there is also irreparable destruction due to theft by grave robbers.
Read about the corpse of a baby girl that went missing a day after the burial. This is an alarming state of affairs!
Overcrowding of Graves
The Miani Sahib Graveyard has the maximum capacity of 300,000 graves. Just 300,000! With over half a million graves crammed in, no wonder the cemetery is so crowded. Despite being full beyond capacity, the graveyard caretakers continue to add on graves and make considerable profit.
The Rising Cost of Death & Burial Services
Gravediggers do not miss any opportunity to rip-off mourning family members as they inquire about basic burial services. The Aukaaf officers are responsible for making the procurement of a burial spot an expensive and complex process, not much different from purchasing a plot of land or a house!
Note how much the "Caretakers" overcharge for grave management:
Non-cemented Grave's Registration: Govt. Rate: Rs. 100 | Graveyard Officials Charge: Rs. 5- 6,000
Cemented Grave's Registration: Govt. Rate: Rs. 1,000 | Graveyard Officials Charge: Rs. 10 -15,000
Dome Construction: Govt. Rate: Rs. 100,000 | Graveyard Officials Charge: Rs.150,000
Cost for Labour: Govt. Rate: Rs. 1,500- 5,000 | Graveyard Officials Charge: Rs.15,000- 30,000
Pakistan Today reports on how gravediggers exploit visitors by tearing down the graves themselves and then subsequently charging family members for the repair work.
Where Does The Money Go?
When family members fill out and pay the challan at the Bank of Punjab for the burial of a loved one, where does that money go? It is certainly not being used for the maintenance or repair of Miani Sahib Graveyard. There are no plot numbers or any other indications mentioned on the forms or on the gravesite/gravestones themselves. How is the challan payment verified?
Need All Graveyards To Be Renovated
I asked the CM's Strategic Reforms Unit about the status of the model graveyard project via Twitter:
The Shaher-e-Khamoshan project opened it's doors to the public yesterday. The idea is to model a functional graveyard and is situated in Kahna. While that is all well and good, what Lahore requires immediately is a massive renovation of all existing cemeteries.
I strongly recommend that Miani Sahib Graveyard be shutdown for "business" as it is way past capacity. There is no need for the mafia at the Miani Sahib to continue to profit when they have neither the space nor the intent to serve families looking for burial services and grave sites.
#ShutdownGraveyardBusiness #CloseMianiSahibDown #NoMoreProfitOnGraves