Before Swat became a part of Pakistan, it was run by visionary rulers; a developed state that possessed all basic facilities, the late Wali-e-Swat Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb had spread a network of schools, hospitals and infrastructure across the state. The state era buildings hence serve as benchmarks of architecture, style and stability, and are an important component of our historical heritage.
Government Wadudia High School is among Swat’s first architectural landmarks. It initially served as the state’s fort and was later converted into a prison. In 1928, Miangul Abdul Wadud, the state’s first ruler transformed it into Swat’s first school.
In 1960, Swat’s last ruler Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb renewed its building in accordance with modern architecture. The building, therefore, stood tall against Talibanisation and floods; neither blasted nor washed away by floods. Sadly enough the building was recently demolished by Swat’s administration. The building’s destruction has triggered resentment and disappointment amongst Swat’s inhabitants. It is worth mentioning that the school was so strong that even the modern machinery took days to destroy it.
Ziauddin Yousafzai, an elder of the Swat Qaumi Jirga, told The Express Tribune: “The jirga condemns Wadudia School’s demolition. All buildings from the state era are invaluable components of our rich historical heritage. Honorable nations value their assets. Swat Qaumi Jarga has handed over a list of 22 such historical sites and buildings to Major-General Javed Iqbal Ramdey, for them to be persevered at all costs. The demolished schools must be rebuilt. The mafia involved in this heinous crime must be exposed and punished.”
“It was the first institute for formal and modern education after 2,000 years of Gandahara civilisation. Wadudia was not only an educational school but it was our historical heritage,” he further added.
“There is a lot of space available to construct a new building. I don’t understand the logic behind the old building’s destruction. Now we are short of space for students. Where will we accommodate our students till a new building is constructed?” said a teacher from Wadudia, on the condition of anonymity.
Mussarat Ahmad Zeb, a member of the Royal family, told The Express Tribune: “My heart weeps when I recall Wadudia School. Visionary and living states never lose their history, culture and heritage.” When asked whether those responsible for the school’s destruction will be brought to justice, she said, “It is a chaotic democratic elected government in which we don’t know whom to weep and whom to appeal to. We even don’t know who runs this country. Once we know who runs it, we will be able to ask about it.”
“I myself visited the school building before its demolition and found it perfectly alright. It seems some elements had their eyes fixated on the school’s furniture, made of Diyar wood, which has currently become extinct.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2011.