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May 13, 2010

PHC seeks record of heritage sites of Peshawar


May 13, 2010

Bureau report

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday directed the sports and culture, archaeology and local government secretaries and senior member of Board of Revenue to submit a report to the court vis-‡-vis the old and present status of the historical buildings, spacious gardens and bridges of Peshawar.

Heading a division bench along with Justice Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah, PHC Chief Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan also directed the petitioner, Shakeel Waheedullah, to provide the court with photos and other relevant documents about the Walled City depicting its old position.

The court was hearing an application, filed by the citizen for revival of cultural heritage of Peshawar, which the court had converted into a writ petition during previous hearing in the case.

The application addressed to the chief justice of PHC stated that Peshawar, once known for its historical buildings, spacious gardens and bridges, had been converted into ruins owing to the apathy of the government officials concerned. He stated that the historical wall around the City had been demolished at several places, paving the way for the construction of big plazas by the land mafia in connivance with the government officials.

The petitioner said out of 28 gardens, the City now had a few, adding the historic Shahi Bagh, which was stretched over a land of 150 kanals, has been reduced to a small piece of land. “The government allocated the land for Government College, Municipal Inter-College and football ground from Shahi Bagh,” he said and added that recently approved the schemes of fun-land and a new football ground at the Shahi Bagh, inflicted further loss to the grandeur of the historic garden.

The citizen prayed the chief justice to take strict note of the issue and direct the authorities concerned to stop further constructions on the land of Shahi Bagh besides order demolition of all the buildings built on the land in the last 50 years.

In his application, Shakeel also made a reference to the Wazir Bagh built in 1802 on hundreds of kanals of land a major portion of which had been grabbed by the land mafia. The petitioner also requested the court to set up an inquiry committee to fix responsibility on those government officials involved in wreaking havoc with the grandeur of Peshawar and suggest steps for its revival. He said that he had taken up the issue at various forums but to no avail and finally approached the PHC to help restore the dignity of the Walled City.

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