The Hush Post| 5:07 pm|one-minute-read|
A group of locals demolished a four-storey four-century-old building allegedly with the connivance of auqaf department officials and even sold its precious windows, doors and ventilators.
According to a report in The Dawn newspaper, the building was constructed over four centuries ago in village Bathanwala, 20 kilometres from Lahore on New Lahore Road.
Its construction comprised old bricks, sand, clay and limestone. There were 16 large rooms in the building all of which had at least three beautiful doors and at least four ventilators.
The rooms were constructed with large broad walls with cupboards in them that had wooden doors with flowers carved on them.
All the rooms were airy and their walls had small lamp enclosures in them. Diyar wood beams of various sizes were used in the roofs; the wood costs thousands of rupees per foot.
The three-foot-wide and sturdy walls surrounding the building were made of small old bricks in beautiful designs and painted with pictures of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism; as well as of various Hindu rulers and princes. There were stairs on three of the four sides of the building up to the roof.
A local resident, Muhammad Aslam, said: “This old building is called the Palace of Baba Guru Nanak and we have named it Mahalan. A number of Sikhs from across the world, including India, used to visit this building.”
Another local, Muhammad Ashraf, said: “The auqaf department was informed about the demolition of the building by some influential persons, but no officer or official took any action or even reached here.”
He also claimed: “Three storeys of the building have already been demolished and new houses constructed.”
Narowal Deputy Commissioner Waheed Asghar, who is in charge of the record of all properties in the region, said: “There is no mention of this building in the revenue record. As it seemed to be historical, we are checking the municipal committee’s record.”
He said he had stopped the demolition of the building.
ETPB Sialkot zone Rent Collector Rana Waheed said: “Our team is investigating the Guru Nanak Mahal Bathanwala. If this palace was the property of Evacuee Trust Property Board, legal action will be taken against those responsible.”
He further said that any property of the ETPB, which was rented out, could not be demolished or anything constructed on it without permission.
The locals have sought Prime Minister Imran Khan’s intervention into the destruction of this ‘heritage site’ and take action against those who demolished it.