Threatened historical heritage: Swat’s first school willfully destroyed by govt

Published: July 3, 2011
Email
The Wadudia High School building in Swat before it was demolished by the district government. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ

The Wadudia High School building in Swat before it was demolished by the district government. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ

SWAT: 

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.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (14)

  • Shehzad Khan
    Jul 3, 2011 - 9:38AM

    Congratulations on this awesome job. Another defeat for the mercenary army!Recommend

  • zia
    Jul 3, 2011 - 9:41AM

    Alas! Alas!. how shameful act is this. shame on our government and the local administration and the responsible authorities. shame shame Recommend

  • Jul 3, 2011 - 11:05AM

    Did they give a reason for their act? It makes no sense to destroy buildings, but it does make sense to keep them in good condition. Why some people are always wanting to tear down, and we lose so much, our history, our culture. Such a shame!Recommend

  • Hazer Gul
    Jul 3, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Fazal! The unknowns first destroyed the intangible culture of Pushtoons-Hujra, mosque, music, funeral ceremonies were attacked. Now the well knowns are destroying our tangible cultural heritage. Main offices’ building of Jehan Zeb College has also been destroyed just for nothing and may be other important buildings including main building of Jehan Zeb College and others are in the target.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jul 3, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Whom to say shame as there is no conscience in the ruler class. Recommend

  • tayyab
    Jul 3, 2011 - 1:02PM

    yes the reason is they want to make a new school for whom the funding has being done by UAE government.. it doesnt matter to raze down historical buildings or what when the only thing the authorities see is influx of dollars darham aur denars…THEIR NOTION TO HELL WITH A BUILDING MADE BY SOME RULER , TO HELL WITH A PERFECTLY AWRITE BUILDING…LET US RAZE THEM TO THE GROUNG AND SHOW THE WORLD WE ARE BUILDINGS SCHOOLS …..THE AUTHORITIES SHOULD HAVE INSTEAD BUILT UPTO THE SCHOOLS BEING RAZED BY THE BLASTS OF THE BEASTS…….ANY BODY VISITING SWAT CAN SEE MANY TENT SCHOOLS THEY WERE THE ONE TO BE BUILD UP RATHER THEN THE FULLY SAFE AND FUNCTIONAL SCHOOL…ANYHOW MORE POWER TO DOLLARS POUNDS DIRHAM AND DINAR Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 3, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Shame on this Govt for serious neglect of maintaining such heritage and facilities, let alone trying to build any at all!!!!
    This country does not deserve or need democracy, perhaps it would be better under some form of one party state system, where by at least some one has to take responsibility!!!!!Recommend

  • Ehsan Ullah Khan
    Jul 3, 2011 - 9:19PM

    the administration says they dont know who did it. I heard the army doesnt know either. The Education department say they are not involved. Have the anti state, anti Swat , anti education terrorists creeped into Swat again? The people of Swat want all the concerned powers/departments to give a public statement about this. I hope the Army, the civil government of Swat and the education department will take heed. Such happenings create rumours, frustration and a sense of anger over time. Swatis think and want that at least in this Terrorism and War torn and Flood devastated land such things should never ever happen again. Recommend

  • Hazer Gul
    Jul 4, 2011 - 10:00AM

    @ Ehsan Ullah Khan:
    Who say that the army is not aware? Some activists in Swat including Zia Ud Din Yousaf Zai and other hold a meeting with Army in Swat prior to demolishing the school and handed over a letter stating not to demolish the schools. The letter was sent via fax to Malakand fort and the activists were informed that they will not demolish the schools. After 2-3 days they demolished. The contractor has taken Rs. 1.4 or so for destroying the building. It has also been reported by the school students during a protest over the debris by civil society activists that the staff members have taken away the fans and other assets before the demolishing started.
    The matter was brought in to the notice of Mr. Sardar Hussain Babak Minster for education Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa during his visit to Swat when the work on demolishing was in progress. He has promised for investigation but no action has been taken so far. Recommend

  • khan
    Jul 6, 2011 - 8:08AM

    everyone knows who did this but we all are very much timid and cant raise voice. lolRecommend

  • Fazle Rabbi Rahi
    Jul 8, 2011 - 10:06PM

    Army and Commission Mafia are involved in demolishing in Wadudia High School Saidu Sharif.

    Recommend

  • demosthenes
    Jul 11, 2011 - 2:07AM

    It’s really quite simple. A contractor was hired and paid. Go to the nearest local Judge and get a order against the contractor to divulge the name or names of the officials who issued the order to demolition and who paid for it. Arrest them for destruction of the peoples property. Sue them in civil court for the value of the school as a class action lawsuit alleging loss by the students and people of Swat. Sue as well for punitive damages. Yes it may take a while but the Court’s need to act on behalf of the people.

    Recommend

  • Shah
    Jul 13, 2011 - 4:36PM

    @demosthenes. Pak-Army can not be sued. you know this

    Recommend

  • MA
    Aug 10, 2011 - 2:55AM

    In this case the most important person, who could have saved that heritage was the principal of that school.

    He betrayed Swat for his personal gains. .

    Second important person was the EDO education Swat who also betrayed and stabbed Swat.

    Both these officials could have scared or distracted money hungry developers who got money from UAE and their greedy and blind eyes could not see that fountain, that spiritual landscape, those arches and that amazing piece of the original architecture of Swat.

    Most of the Royal buildings of Saidu Sharif were designed on Italian / Greek architecture and highly skilled masons built those buildings under the direct supervision of the visionary ruler known as ” Wali of Swat “..

    Do we deserve all this , when we betrayed, humiliated and punished our own sincere officers like Syed Muhammad Javed who was former Commissioner od Swat.

    Syed Muhammad Javed was working as Commissioner Hazara, before he was transferred to highy volatile Swat.

    Before he was tranferred to Swat, he conducted a high powered heritage meeting at Abbottabad.

    He brought officers of Army, ERRA, Nespak and all heads of government departments to that meeting which was called to safegaurd graceful old buildings of Hazara.

    Syed Muhammad Javed was a brilliant , hard working and extremely intelligent bureaucrat.

    He was working in his office from 9 am to 9 pm, and he told his friends that as he was not involved in drinking or other corruptions based meetings, hence other officers of the province didn’t like him.

    In that meeting Urdu speaking Qasim Rahat who was the chief Architect of Nespak and chief advisor of Army and ERRA on Architectural issues got furious and he couldn’t hide his true nature and disclosed that he wanted to demolish all buildings which were built by his enemies and Britishers etc.

    In that meeting he was the only person who was wearing three piece suite and a neck tie.

    In that meeting Syed Muhammad Javed clearly spoke against extremists who were blowing government officers and buildings in Swat and he also called corrupt government officers as another type of white collared extremists, who were destroying country from inside through their corruption.

    He was more brilliant than any British civil servant and he had great taste and appreciation for Royal heritage buildings.

    At the peak of his career , when he was busy in rescuing hundreds of beautifully built government buildings of Hazara, from the mafia of ERRA, Nespak and C&W, he was tranferred to Swat.

    Right from that moment, Internet and e-mail and corruption mafia started hate compaign against him.

    Those so called liberals and seculars and champions of human rights rediculed his beard and his prayers etc.

    Based on speculations and gossips , he was picked up by the security agencies in a disgraceful and humiliating manner.

    While no charges against him could be laid ,yet corruption and secular mafia started demanding death penality for him.

    He was later cleared from those charges and he was made an OSD and now he is wasting his life and talent and just waiting for his retirement.

    Most of the Royal buildings of Swat were damaged or completely destroyed during recent fights.

    What else was left is going to be erased froever as Army has now decided to demolish 44 Wali Era schools and build new schools with huge money received from the government of UAE.

    How can we run a huge country with only one institution of ARMY, which is considered as the only honest and competent organization left in Pakistan.

    Greek philosopher wrote in his book that Armed soldier should defend his country from external and internal threats, he should not rule directly, but he should make sure that civil servants stay away from curruption and follow the rules of the state.

    Where in the constitution, it is written that Army will build schools with foreign Aid..??

    Some Schools of swat which have recently been built by the Pak Army are of sub standard quality, their design is poor, and cheap materials and cheap unskilled labour was used by corrupt and incompetent contractors.

    Moreover, new generations will notice that Swat was dark, ignorant and without schools and all schools in Swat were built by Arab Shiekhs and Army of Pakistan.

    Saidu Sharif is a heritage and beautifull built town of Pakistan and all its Wali Era buildings were completing that picture of old graceful Royal swat.

    This new concrete monster which will be built in the middle of Saidu Sharif will not blend with the remaining original buildings of that historic zone of Swat.

    It is very painful and our hearts bleed when we see our Swat getting destroyed like this.

    Good Bye those Shady Persian pines and cool shades of Saidu Sharif…Good Bye that Swat which was once a delight for our hearts…God Bye that pristine , simple but yet graceful architecture of Swat ,…Good Bye that Swat which was labour of Love…..and true devotion and wisdom was peeping through those avenues and corridors which were left for us by those ancestors who were blessed.

    Good Bye that Swat where all kind of people and birds were living in Harmony and peace.

    No one wanted complete hegemony and control….freedom was in the air…those airs which were filled with heavenly scents of apple blossoms…

    Good Bye our Swat ..Good Bye our Udayana

    Recommend

More in Pakistan