The story behind Allama Iqbal's statue in Lahore that has Twitter riled up

Updated 02 Feb, 2021 06:03pm

According to an official, the statue — which some want gone and others say should remain — is a work in progress.

A statue of the late national poet, Allama Iqbal, at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore has Twitter riled up. People have taken offence to the questionable state of the statue, calling it a disgrace to the man it aims to honour.

"We started constructing it during the first wave of the coronavirus. It took us three months to bring some shape to it," the former director of the park, Ghulam Sibtain, who lead the construction initiative, told Dawn.

“We did not hire any architect to make the statue but two gardeners worked on it.”

Picture of the 'original' statue that Ghulam Sibtain shared with Dawn.
Picture of the 'original' statue that Ghulam Sibtain shared with Dawn.

Sibtain took the initiative after orders by former Punjab Horticulture Authority (PHA) director, General Muzaffar Siyal, to construct a "selfie point" in the park.

He said that he purchased a giant poster of Allama Iqbal to use as a reference for the statue.

Sibtain said he did not spend any state money to make this selfie point. “I requested some elderly people who come to the park daily to help us with funds in the making of this statue. We bought cement with the collected funds, and used iron rods and wood dumped in the park.”

He said that the statue was a work in progress when he was transferred from the post last month. "We have only completed the left side of the statue but the right side remains incomplete. The statue is not yet accurate. We wanted to paint it golden but it remains in its white unfinished form."

Even though Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the statue and ordered its removal for now, Twitterati are undeterred in their criticism; some are angry and see the statue as a national insult, others are using it as a meme opportunity.

The meme journey is inevitable

Activists and journalists seem angry

People know Iqbal wouldn't be amused

But wait — some want it to stay!

Now that you mention it...