Historic site demolished in Nankana Sahib

The local residents have apprised the high ups of the Punjab government that the resident of the house, Rana Shabbir, had demolished it to build a new house on the land. However, Shabbir and other residents claim that the ruins fell in a recent windstorm. The property has been disputed between Shabbir and the Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) for the last three decades and the matter is still pending in the Lahore High Court. Shabbir lived in the house until a month ago before it was taken over by the Evacuee Trust Property Board.

Shabbir claims that the house and the temple, built on approximately 1,575 square feet of land, had been owned by his family since before partition. He explained that no EPTB officials has ever visited the place, and the government has no historical record of the ownership of the land. The EPTB sealed the house on the pretext of a religious and historical place, despite no pilgrim having ever visited the place.

Already, a 150-year-old Hindu temple in Peshawar has become the focus of a property dispute involving the Pakistan army. The Balmiki temple is located in Kalibari, which is a part of the city’s military cantonment and run by the army. People who run the temple and owners of approximately 70 houses in the neighbourhood have been served eviction notices by the Peshawar Cantonment Board. The army wants to replace the existing buildings with a high-rise shopping complex. It says that Kalibari is a property of the local cantonment board.

However, a local Hindu leader Ram Lal, says the entire land and property was in the name of one Mehar Chand Khanna who had bought it way back in the 19th century. The Cantonment Board has accused the residents of occupying the area illegally and encroaching on government land. The head priest, Ramlal, who has been looking after the temple for last 35 years, says the property in Kalibari belongs to the minorities.

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