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April 8, 2019

Experts voice concern over expansion work at Islamic College University


April 8, 2019

PESHAWAR: Conservationists, heritage experts and organizations have called for following the KP Antiquity Act 2016 while carrying out expansion work at the Islamia College University (ICU), Peshawar.

According to a press release issued by Institute of Architects of Pakistan (IAP), Pakistan Council of Architects &Town Planning (PKATP), KARWAN, National Heritage Council, and the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) the construction for new academic and residential blocks in the iconic heritage building of Islamic College (now a university) has evoked serious concern from heritage experts, alumni members and civil society members.

According to Architect M Khalid, “An internationally recognized heritage site, Islamia College is the symbol of a unique blend of various shades of architecture. Basically Sarecenic, it has influences of Indian and western styles. Experts assume the building was designed by colonial period architect Bhai Ram Singh”. Senior archaeologist Mukhtar Durrani said: “Pioneered by Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan, Islamia College Peshawar has historical and architectural importance for KP, Pakistan and world tourism. Built with red bricks in 1908, it is enlisted as a National Heritage site by Pakistan.” Noted architect Abdur Rehman added: “Islamia College is one of the most beautiful monuments of Pakistan. It has a majestic look owing to huge gardens and open landscapes. Heritage is not only a building but comprises the entire landscape and surroundings”.

“The Directorate of Archaeology can play its vital role in the protection of the building and its surroundings as per Antiquity Act because it is shared legacy of people of Pakistan. Any new structure in the vicinity of ICU is the violation of UNESCO charter. Every historic monument has its catchment area which should also be preserved”, he added.

A conservation expert Fareeda Nishtar pointed out: “We should not forget that image of Islamia College is printed on our currency notes and that alone gives it a certain sanctity which cannot be compromised by new buildings in its vicinity. The entire university area needs to be preserved as per KP Antiquity Act 2016.”

Architect and consultant Fauzia Qureshi, who is a former principal of the National College of Arts, said: “All the UNESCO-adopted charters provide guidelines for World Heritage sites.

We can conceptually apply these principles to our heritage sites. Sites are important at national, provincial and at a local community level and any development should follow these guidelines.”

The press release said the heritage experts are planning to meet with ICU officials to discuss the issue.

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