PESHAWAR: The Archaeology Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has approached KP Police for the registration of a first information report (FIR) over the sudden demolition of a historical house located near the Ander Sher Asamai Temple.
It merits a mention here that the house, a fine architectural building located close to Dhaki Munwar Shah near Raj Kapoor’s house constructed from 1830 to 1860, was razed to ground by its owner for the purpose of constructing a commercial plaza.
The issue was raised on social media on October 11, 2018 by a civil society activist, Dr Ali Jan who is a heritage lover and lobbies for the preservation of rich past architectural glory of Peshawar city.
Dr Jan also expressed the resolve of writing an open letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar for taking notice of the demolition of this historic building and others in Peshawar city for the purpose of constructing commercial plazas.
According to an office order issued by Evacuee Trust Property (ETP) Deputy Administrator (DA) Asif Khan issued on July 2018, Lahore ETP chairman had granted the approval for the demolition of historic house to construct a commercial building.
In an application submitted to the station house office (SHO) of Khan Raziq Police Station, the Archeology Department has submitted that the said house was an intact monument and had intricate wooden architecture.
It was the glory of Peshawar city and the Archeology department intended to protect it under the Antiquity Act 2016.
It is clearly mentioned in the Act under section 18 and 24 that “No person shall except for carrying out the purposes of this Act, can destroy, break, damage, alter, injure, deface, mutilate or scribble, write or engage any inscription or sign on any antiquity or take manure from any protected antiquity or important antiquity.
According to the act, whoever contravenes the provision of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or can face a a fine up to Rs2 million or both.
The court trying an offense under this section may direct that the whole or any part of the fine recovered shall be applied in defraying the expenses of restoring the antiquity to the condition in which it was before the commission of the offense.
The section 24 of Act reads as, “The director shall into the reason of destruction or damage, as the case may be, and if it proved after inquiry that the antiquity has been willfully damaged and destructed either by the owner or by any other person, the director shall initiate action against such an owner or a person by lodging an FIR in the concerned police department.”
In this connection, the SHO has been requested by the Archeology Department to lodge an FIR against the owner of the house and also extend cooperation in stopping the demolition work on an urgent basis.