A court on Monday summoned Rawalpindi Division commissioner, archeology department director general (DG) and the Auqaf administrator for not taking measures to preserve heritage sites in Potohar region.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed of LHC Rawalpindi bench directed Commissioner Rawalpindi Imdadullah Bosal, DG Archeology Haroon Ahmed and Auqaf Rawalpindi Administrator Malik Rafique to appear in the court on April 12 to respond to a petition filed by Barrister Sajjad Ahmed Satti.
The petitioner through his lawyer Saimul Haq Satti, in the contempt of court application, has maintained that the legal action should be initiated against the authorities for not complying with the court orders of March 20.
In the earlier order, the court had directed the concerned authorities to take necessary steps for conservation of historical sites and stopping all construction activities adverse to the existence of ancient sites till the final decision of the petition was made.
The court had further directed the commissioner Rawalpindi to get the areas of historical sites demarcated and remove all encroachments surrounding the sites.
Satti had mentioned Punjab secretary Youth Affairs and Culture, DG environment, commissioner Rawalpindi, DG archeology and head of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisation Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).
He said the authorities had ignored the orders of high court and that “construction activities in different historical sites and in the biggest park in Rawalpindi, Ayub National Park were still going on”. The activities will further endanger the existence of a number of shamshan ghaats in Rawalpindi, Mankiala Stupa Gujar Khan, Rawat Fort, temples at Saghri village in Kallar Syedan, temples at Bhon Chakwal, an old Havali Kontrila Gujar Khan and Ghulyana Gujjar Khan, he said.
In the pending petition, Barrister Satti maintained that a survey carried out by QAU in Rawalpindi had uncovered some 450 sites — including forts, tombs, step wells, ancient mounds, stupas, rock shelters, temples, gurdwaras besides fossils trees, stones, mosques and numerous ancient water ponds.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.