The gate of Katri Baoo Mumtaz, flanked by two lions inside the Sheranwala Gate, was demolished on Monday without permission from the Ravi Town administration, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Katri Baoo Mumtaz was built during the Mughal era. It is a residential locality with very old shops. Following the demolition of the gate, the trail of buildings up to Siddiq Payewala, that includes nearly 15 shops and houses, is under threat from being torn down to build commercial centres, Walled City of Lahore Authority Heritage Expert Talib Hussain said.
When contacted for a comment, Ravi Town Municipal Administrator Sardar Ahad Dogar said that he was on leave and not aware of the demolition. He said that he would take strict action if a violation had occurred.
The man behind the demolition, Chaudhry Fazil told The Express Tribune, “We are planning to construct a huge shopping mall and market along the lines of Azam Cloth Market here. Nobody can stop us from doing that.”
Asghar Ali, a resident who saw the demolition, told The Express Tribune that it was being carried out in connivance with an Auqaf Department official.
WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said, “The Walled City is under the threat of commercialisation. It would turn this area into a warehouse.” He said that the TMA will penalise Fazil as per law.
WCLA Deputy Director Tania Qureshi, said, “The TMA is supposed to work in consultation with the WCLA.” The TMA has not kept the demolition of the Walled City’s original fabric under check. Their system of checks and balances is lacking, she said, “That is why the land mafia has control of the Walled City instead of the TMA.”
When asked to comment on these allegations, TMA Dogar refused to comment and switched his phone off.
She said if illegal construction in the Walled City was not stopped, the heritage of the area would be lost.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2013.
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