Photographer's Note

National Monument Islamabad,

Construction of a National Monument at Islamabad has been under consideration by the Government since Islamabad was made the Capital of Pakistan. A number of committees studied the proposals for concept, design and location of the National. The long-awaited decision to construct a National Monument with a clear concept and design was taken by President General Pervez Musharraf. The Ministry of Culture was given the task of planning and executing the Project. Considerable preparatory work was undertaken by the ministry over one year for planning and seeking approval. The Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP) was tasked to organize a National Competition to transform the theme and basic framework signifying strength, unity and dedication of the people of Pakistan into an icon representing an independent and free nation. It was envisaged for the National Monument to serve as a beacon representing the past, present and heralding a bright future for all Pakistanis to whom the Monument will stand dedicated.

A jury of experienced Architects was formed to select the best design from twenty designs submitted. Three short listed designs were presented and discussed with the President of Pakistan and the design submitted by Mr Arif Masoud was selected as the best, winning him a cash prize of Rs.200,000.

The high ground at west viewpoint of the Shakarparian Hills selected by a deputed team was approved. The area spread over seven acres (2.8 hectares) is about a hundred feet (30 metres) above Zero Point with ideal location, accessibility, visibility and prominence.? The Monument will be visible from all vantage points of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The monument will comprise of four blossoming flower petals representing the People of Pakistan standing united, shoulder to shoulder, shielding the crescent and star in the space below. The design concept is imbued with simplicity and strength, relaying the vision of standing guard over the Motherland. The inner walls of the petals will be decorated with murals and artwork.

A metallic crescent will be inscribed with sayings of Quaid-i-Azam and poetry of Allama Iqbal. The shining star in the centre will have a water body around it, glistening with submerged lights adding to the beauty of the structure especially at night when the whole Monument will be lit. Spaces around the Monument will be linked with a garden walk interspersed with beautiful plants.

Opposite to the Monument?s main plaza is the building of the Pakistan Monument Museum designed in a manner that it?s architectural form and height of the building does not overpower the Monument?s main structure. The theme of the National Monument revolves around creation and development of Pakistan , making it different from other two Museums in the close vicinity i.e. the Heritage and Natural History Museums. It will house exhibits highlighting Iqbal?s Concept of a Muslim State in South Asia, Quaid-i-Azam?s efforts and struggle for the independence of Pakistan and how Pakistan stands today as a forward looking developing state in Asia and the world. The exhibits coupled with audiovisual effects are aimed at creating serenity and a deep love for the nation. Space for future developments has been reserved.

The construction started after the Earth Breaking Ceremony by the President on May 25th 2004. About half of the work has been completed so far and the Monument is intended to be completed in 2006. Some additional works for the Museum will be completed in 2007.

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