ISLAMABAD  – The Capital Development Authority has successfully traced out the routes of a 700-year old natural spring at Zero Point Interchange those were blocked owing to construction activity.

The only natural spring in urban area of federal capital was blocked after the contractor excavated a hill beneath National Monument to construct loop linking Islamabad Highway with Kashmir Highway.

“We have cleared the routes of the natural spring that besides natural beauty has also some religious background owing to its historical account,” said a senior CDA official.

The spot of natural spring is said to be bethak (sit-out area) of five great saints including Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Bahauddin Zakaria, Shah Shamsh Tabrez and Jalaluddin Bukhari who used to travel to Kashmir in summer and to Sehwan in winter. There are around 47 such sites across the country, named as bethak.

Surrounded by some bamboo trees, the spring is located on left of the main Rawalpindi-bound intersection of Islamabad, very close the main bridge.

The watering place was located in centre of the project area and it was feared that the spring would be blocked; however, the CDA’s relevant formation succeeded to prove the apprehensions wrong. Though the water cannot reach its previous point, it flows into the right side drain of the under-construction loop. The water is too clean as the construction workers engaged laboring there also drink the same at their own desire.

“The water is too clean. It also tastes good,” said a laborer sipping it from the plastic bottle filled from the little muddy pond, temporarily made there to conserve water.

Though the water point is yet unknown to many, it attracts and amuses the residents who come to know it about.

Uphill, there is a small sitting area featuring some concrete benches where a stony pathway leads to. The previous water well now lies dry after being disconnected from its route. However, a plaque narrating the historical account of the natural spring still exists there.

“At that time, these hills were barren and were named as Guru Shankar Hills. The saint used to be revered much by the tribe.

However, the tribe used to face severe water scarcity,” reads the affixed plaque.

He claimed it was because of the saint that a spring began flowing to meet water needs of the area. Witnessing the miracle, the then Hindu tribe leader Ram Choorasi embraced Islam and renamed the hilly track as Shakarparian after name of Ganj Shakar. Talking to the news agency, Chairman Anjuman Tareekh-o-Asaar Shanasi Dr Ghazanfar Mehdi said the CDA has committed with him to construct a pond to conserve water from where people could carry water, besides suggesting development of park on bethak site.

“It is really amazing. It should not go unattended. The CDA needs to conserve this water at any point,” said Ali Arsalan, a college student who was walking around to see the construction activity. Asked, the CDA official said as the construction activity was yet underway on the embankment to protect the National Monument, it would follow the preservation of the spring.

He said the CDA was yet thinking as at which point, the water should be preserved; however assuring that it would not be blocked.