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September 26, 2020

New concrete structures in Islamia College buildings resented

National

September 26, 2020

PESHAWAR: The heritage-lovers have expressed concern over mushrooming of concrete structures interspersed within historic Islamia College University buildings. A press release issued the Sarhad Conservation Network said the decision of modern development in a renowned 107 year old landmark is a grave offence against National and Provincial Antiquity Acts. It said the construction of eight new buildings on the historic premises was undertaken without an official No-Objection Certificate from the Directorate of Archeology.

The press release said the Directorate of Archeology issued several directives to the relevant authorities, and even approached the courts against the blatant violation of the KP Antiquity Act 2017. It said the conversion of a sprawling Islamia College into a cramped campus defies logic and common sense.

The reason given was “to accommodate an increasing number of aspiring students”. However, Islamia College trust owns several lands in various districts of KP, e.g. Charsadda and Swabi. Islamia College, Peshawar, a renowned heritage landmark, reveled by historians and travelers worldwide; was conceived by Sahibzada Abdul Qayum as a center of excellence for students of the erstwhile NWFP in 1913.

Its iconic image is etched in the psyche of its admirers, on Pakistan’s 100 Rupee note, besides other vintage memorabilia. The unique combination of Gothic, Indian and Mughal architecture is reminiscent of Osmania College in Hyderabad Deccan and Aligarh Muslim University, having inspired its architects and founders Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayum and Sir Roos Keppel.

“Many prominent alumni members played a pivotal role in the Pakistan movement. The Quaid bestowed a major part of his will to this beloved institution. What would have been his reaction of turning his dream into a concrete wasteland?” asked the press release.

Fareeda Nishtar, is an ardent conservationist for the built heritage of Peshawar, with an illustrious family history. “The initial report was that the construction is far removed and in Dhobighat area. However during a recent visit the construction is hideous and in close proximity as the open grounds are all compromised. “AstroTurf is being laid for hockey. The library site was depressing as the old building is overwhelmed by the concrete construction and completely sandwiched, while it’s indoors was rundown and shabby. “The ruthless mushrooming of concrete structures has robbed the premises of its ambience and heritage value” he lamented.