There’s Statue of Liberty in the U.S. And in Pakistan, Minar-e-Pakistan.
In all big cities, there’s always something that becomes the identity of that city. In Sydney, there’s The Opera House. In London, there’s Tower Bridge. And Lahore’s monument is Minar-e-Pakistan. Whenever tourists come to Lahore they never leave without visiting it. We have read poems about it in syllabus books. It is a memorial of Tehreek-e-Pakistan (The Pakistan Movement). It is a symbol of “Pakistaniyat”. But why?
There are lots of must-visit places in Lahore. From Pakistan’s biggest shopping mall to Pakistan’s greatest fort, From delicious food to literary tea houses Lahore has everything!. But the status that Minar-e-Pakistan enjoys nothing else does!. But why?
The biggest reason is that this minaret is situated exactly where the Quaid (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) stood addressing the crowd on 23rd March 1940 and demanded an independent Pakistan from the British government. Back then, obviously, there wasn’t a minaret here, It was only a big public park. Where political gatherings also took place. And, it was called Minto Park. It was renamed Iqbal Park after Pakistan’s creation. But it has become “Greater” Iqbal Park now.
On the 20-year anniversary of 1940 Lahore Resolution the foundation of this minaret was laid. It took almost eight-and-a-half years in the construction of this 228 feet tall minaret. But it only costed 7 million rupees. It’s obvious, there wasn’t any corruption back then. The story behind revenue collection for the construction of this minaret, is also intriguing. The revenue was collected by placing extra taxes on cinema tickets and HORSE RACES!YES!. The minaret where ALLAH’s names and Quranic verses are written was built with horce-racing money. This minaret is standing on four platforms. First platform is made with rough-cut stone brought from Taxila. It is a symbol of the times when the South Asian Muslims were being suppressed by the British Raaj. The smooth stone of the second platform indicates that the Muslims had started to find inspirational leadership. The third glazed-stone platform symbolizes the Pakistan Movement. And the fourth platform, which is made with white marble symbolizes the creation of Pakistan. Initially, this monument was going to be named Yaadgaar-e-Pakistan (memorial of Pakistan). Then people said memorials can only be made of objects that are no more. So how can it be memorial of Pakistan. Then they decided to name it: Yaadgaar-e-Qaraardaad-e-Pakistan (Memorial of the Pakistan Resolution).
Then they thought such a long name isn’t a good idea. Then finally, it was called Minar-e-Pakistan (minaret of Pakistan). Quite near to the minaret, in the Iqbal Park the mausoleum of Hafeez Jalandhari is situated (the author of Pakistan’s National anthem). Whenever people who love Pakistan come to Iqbal Park they never forget to pay a visit to this mausoleum. An odd thing is that (Allama) Iqbal’s mausoleum is not in Iqbal Park. That is situated across the road, in the shadow of Badshahi Masjid (Royal Mosque).
Oh, I forgot about Greater Iqbal Park So, what happened is that after the creation of Pakistan Minar-e-Pakistan became a symbol of a resolve. And, in its shadow, large-scale political jalsas (conventions) started being organized. (Zulfikar Ali) Bhutto has also conducted mighty jalsas here. The last of such big jalsas was Imran Khan’s jalsa of 30 October (2011) after which, PTI (Imran Khan’s political party) rose as a prominent political force. When things were heating up in the political landscape (Then) PM Nawaz Sharif developed this park through a big project. Models of many important places of Lahore were made Food court was designed and Pakistan’s first dancing fountain was also installed here and, most importantly, he put a blanket ban on all political activities in the park. Now, no political activities take place here. Coming back to the point, you must visit this place whenever you come to Lahore.