In a surprise move, the Punjab Government on Monday postponed the groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of Madrassa Taleemul Quran, with traders and clerics criticising the government’s decision.
The building and a number of shops were burnt during sectarian clashes on Ashura. The Punjab government has approved Rs340 million rupees for building the seminary, mosque and 134 shops at the Raja Bazaar.
Around 300 traders gathered at the site to attend the opening ceremony, however, they were told that ceremony has been cancelled. “At the eleventh-hour, the government cancelled the ceremony. This is unfair and an injustice to poor traders,” said Qadir Mir a leader of the traders association.
Punjab Minister for Labour Raja Ashfaq Sarwar was supposed to lay the foundation of the building but reportedly cancelled the ceremony due to other engagements.
There is a dispute over the ownership rights of proposed site of construction of mosque and seminary between Madrassa Taleemul Quran and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
Sources in the ETPB said that land dispute with the madrassa was pending with the federal secretary for minorities affairs for the last many months.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.
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