Standing tall and proud in the midst of Old Lahore, Minar-E-Pakistan is a constant reminder of the tiresome journey of independence. It was built to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution (Lahore Resolution) which was passed in All India Muslim League session on 22-24 March 1940 held at the Minto Park now known as the Greater Iqbal Park.
The resolution passed by the only Muslim Political Party of the sub-continent demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. The vision of the Great Iqbal was finally coming to life who claimed in 1930 in Allahabad “India is a continent of human groups, belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions. Personally, I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Provinces (NWFP), Sindh and Balochistan amalgamated into a single state.
Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.” This resolution put the words of Iqbal in practical effect. It did so in the following words “The areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.
This resolution was the beginning of a new journey for all the Muslims of the subcontinent and a turning point in their lives as they finally got their own sovereign homeland in 1947 on 14th August.
Architecture of Minar-e-Pakistan
Minar-e-Pakistan, a blend of Mughal and modern architecture is a design of Nasreddin Murat-Khan, a Russian born Pakistan Architect. He was also assisted by Abdur Rehman Khan Niazi. The construction of Minar-E-Pakistan started on 23rd March 1960 and took a total of eight years to be completed with a cost of somewhere between 5-7 Lacs. The funds were collected by imposing an additional tax on cinemas and horse racing.
The 70m tall building offers a spectacular view of the colourful city of Lahore and the astounding Badshahi Masjid. For those who can’t take the challenge of climbing 324 stairs, there is an elevator to see the picturesque view. The four platforms are a depiction of the struggle that the Muslims went through to get their homeland. They are made with four different stones Taxila stones, hammer-dressed stones, chiselled stones and white marble.
Minar-E-Pakistan blooms with history as it is also the resting place of the writer of the national anthem of Pakistan Hafeez Jalandhari. It is not a mere monument which is a symbol of the Pakistan Resolution but the base of Minar-E-Pakistan reflects the religious and political sentiments of the whole nation as it has many Quranic verses, national anthem and speeches of both Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal and the resolution of Pakistan written in Arabic, Urdu, English and Bengali on white marbles.
Ten white marble slabs of 7/2 feet have the 99 names of Allah written on it and the entrance says Allah O Akbar showing the close affiliation that the people of this country have with their religion. Eight newly installed marble fountains on the main access add to the beauty of the memorial, emitting watery rainbows with the help of multicoloured lights.
According to a professor, Mazhar Moeen of Punjab University the onion-shaped dome and pinnacle at the top are a representation of the Mughals in the south and a reminder to the onlookers that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan exists under the shadow of Allah Almighty. It presents the country as a place of peace and harmony. It glorifies Islam and boasts the sovereignty of Allah while also celebrating the political figures of the country who led the nation to where they are today.
Minar-e-Pakistan is now surrounded by the Greater Iqbal Park which is a major tourist attraction in the city. It has an artificial lake and some very versatile and high-end restaurants serving the best quality of desi food to its visitors along with some exceptional live singing. The park has a walking track and is always full of people ready to explore the history of Lahore from a new perspective.
Even today Minar-E-Pakistan stands as a link between the forefathers of the country and its youth and stands as a symbol of determination, achievement, strength and the power of standing up against tyrants with the hope of achieving the impossible. It has still not lost its political and strategical importance as many political rallies are still held here by different political parties attracting a large number of people every time.
If you do visit Lahore this is one architectural wonder that you should never miss, Minar-E-Pakistan. Located at the intersection of circular road and Multan road right in the hub of the walled city this is a place for every tourist providing the perfect balance of both history and amusement.