ISLAMABAD: Prominent educationist Dr SM Zaman has deeply resented the planned demolition of a monument inside Peshawar’s Shahi Bagh, which was built in 1983 in memory of the first visit of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to the city on October 19, 1936 as part of a beautification plan by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Local Government Department.
“If the monument is to be essentially razed for the purposes of beautification, a better memorial should be built there and the Shahi Bagh should be named as Quaid-e-Azam Park,” he told The News.
Dr Zaman, who is former vice chancellor of the Allama Iqbal Open University and ex-chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, was upset over seeing a photograph in this newspaper with its caption saying that the monument would be flattened as part of a controversial beautification plan being carried out with Rs70 million funding of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The level of Quaid-e-Azam’s special love for this province can be well gauged from the fact that in his will he had earmarked money for the Islamia College Peshawar apart from the Sindh Madressatul Islam Karachi and a similar institution of Mumbai, Dr Zaman, who is a leading historian, said.
He said had the Quaid not burnt mid-night oil in his struggle for obtaining the homeland for us, we would not have been living as a free nation now.
Dr Zaman said according to his knowledge this was the only such monument in the KP, which was constructed in 1983 and none of the educational institutions in the KP has been named after the Quaid-e-Azam.
On the other hand, he said, the Peshawar airport has been designated as the Bacha Khan airport and universities have been named after his and Khan Abdul Wali Khan’s names.
But, Dr Zaman said, a hard fact is that Bacha Khan had abhorred to be buried in Pakistan and had desired in his will that he should be buried in Jalalabad (Afghanistan). Conversely, a small monument in memory of the Quaid is being demolished.As an educationist and a humble student of history, he said, he demands that this process should be immediately halted.