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April 24, 2019

Big portion of historic City Wall demolished illegally


April 24, 2019

PESHAWAR: Fifty-seven feet portion of the historic City Wall near the Kohati Gate was demolished illegally on Tuesday for construction of a commercial building.

Research Officer at the Department of Archeology and Museums, Nawazud Din, confirmed to The News the demolition and said the 57 feet portion of the wall was demolished in violation of the Archeology Act.

He said that his department has requested the police to register the First Information Report (FIR).

“We will decide whether or not to request the government to order an inquiry to ascertain the causes of the damage to the archaeological site only after the police registered a report,” he added.

However, he said the demolition appear to have been a deliberate act as the property would have less commercial value without removing the wall.

Tehsil Municipal Officer Saleem Khan told The News that district government was responsible for the City Wall maintenance and it had initiated an inquiry against the accused.

He said an FIR had been registered against Hazrat Noor and his wife for demolishing the City Wall.

However, he alleged, the City Wall might have collapsed accidently as those who were constructing the commercial building on the site had left three feet space between the City Wall and the compound.

The official alleged that the main damage was caused due to the drain passing under the wall.

“The drain had caused dampness in the area which had weakened the wall and it collapsed during the digging,” he alleged and claimed that the town administration had approved the building plan.

When asked whether the Town-1 administration had notified the building plan approval to the Archeology Department, he said that XEN Rashidullah was in a better position to respond to this query.

Rashidullah, when contacted, said the district government had a building approval committee headed by district nazim.

He claimed the district nazim had pointed out in the plan with a green line that no construction should be carried out beyond the line to protect the City Wall.

However, he said the building plan approval was not notified to any department as there were no such rules to notify any building plan to any department.

Nawazuddin said his department had requested the district administration and district government to inform the Archeology Department before awarding an no-objection certificate to applicants seeking construction near archaeological sites.

He said his department had not been communicated information about approval of the building plan near the City Wall in this case.

When asked as to why the building inspector had been suspended by the District Nazim, town administration official Saleem Khan expressed ignorance about the directives despite the fact that the TMO had been named to initiate the inquiry.

He expressed ignorance about his nomination as inquiry officer. Interestingly inquiry report was required to be furnished within 24 hours while he was not aware of his notification even several hours.

Earlier, a press release issued from District Nazim office said Nazim Muhammad Asim Khan received information about the demolition of a portion of the City Wall near Kohati Chowk at 5 am on Tuesday. It added that the wall had been demolished for the construction of the basement at an adjacent plot. The district nazim had directed acting Deputy Commissioner Shahid Ali Khan, Tehsil Municipal Officer, Town-I, Salim Khan, police and officials of Archeology Department to reach the site.

The officials seized the construction equipment and registered a case against the owner of the plot.

The district nazim suspended the building inspector and directed Tehsil Municipal Officer to initiate inquiry and submit him a report within 24 hours. District Nazim Asim Khan could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

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