Historical Guru Nanak Palace in Pakistan’s Punjab partially demolished by locals

A group of locals partially demolished a four-storey centuries-old building allegedly with the permission of Auqaf department officials. Doors, windows and ventilators, deemed priceless, have also been sold.

The historical Guru Nanak Palace was constructed over four centuries ago in Bathanwala village, about 100 km from Lahore, on New Lahore Road.

Guru Nanak Palace was built of 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 that had cupboards with wooden doors and flowers carved into 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.

A local, 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.”

He said that once a six-member delegation, including a woman carrying a large book with information about the historical building, had come here from Canada. The delegation was elated at visiting the site.

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.”

“Three storeys of the building have already been demolished and new houses constructed. The influentials have demolished the building with the connivance of the Auqaf department and sold its costly windows, doors, ventilators and wood,” he said.

In an effort to determine the legal status of the building, locate its owners or find out which government department maintained its record, India Today TV reached out to various officials, but apparently everyone seemed clueless – from the deputy commissioner, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to the family that lived in the building.

Muhammad Anwar, who claimed to own the building, as well as other family members, was also behind its demolition. He claimed that after Partition his forefathers started living in this building where his family continued to reside. “I do not know whose property this building is as we have been living here for generations. We demolished it because it was in a dangerous, dilapidated condition,” he said.

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 seems to be historical, we are checking the municipal committee’s record.”

He said he had stopped further demolition of the building.

Updated: May 27, 2019 — 4:45 pm