The reconstructed mausoleum of the Sufi Pashto poet Abdul Rehman Baba will be inaugurated on August 14.
Reconstruction work totalling Rs39 million was paid for by the federal government. On March 5, 2009, the building was badly damaged after unidentified militants placed explosive material on the pillars of the mausoleum. The building was later demolished as engineers declared it dangerous and recommended its reconstruction. Reconstruction work began in 2009 and took two-and-a-half-years to complete.
Commenting on the strength of the new building an official of the Peshawar Development Authority said that this time, the building has been made strong enough to sustain the blow of explosive material if ever planted in it. However, a police checkpoint was also build on the premises to guard the tomb.
The new building features at least one notable addition, as famous verses inscribed on the walls of the mausoleum have been translated into Urdu for visitors who cannot read Pashto.
“The police have taken extra measures to ensure the protection of the tomb and visitors at the shrine... the number of police personnel has been doubled from five to 10,” Muhammad Nabi, a local who regularly visits the shrine told The Express Tribune.
After the surge in militancy and religious extremism, sacred places such as mosques and mausoleum have often become targets for militants particularly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Earlier, on 22 June, the shrine of Panj Pir was targeted using a bomb planted on a donkey cart outside the shrine while a large number of people including women and children had gathered to attend the weekly festival. The Panj Pir shrine in Hazar Khwani village is just two kilometres away from Rehman Baba’s mausoleum.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.