SIALKOT

Poor sewerage system and rising encroachments are causing damage to historic Iqbal Manzil, the birthplace of Allama Iqbal, and it needs to be preserved in its original shape and design.

Visitors reach there to visit this national heritage after passing through the growing encroachments around Iqbal Manzil in Kashmiri Muhallah locality. Mounting encroachments eclipse the beauty of the 156-year-old building.

The hours-long traffic jams and encroachments create hurdles in the way to Iqbal Manzil due to which the visitors have to face hardships. Local people were of the view that due to the alleged slackness of Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Sialkot, the encroachments have mounted to a great extent in Kashmiri Muhallah locality of Sialkot city.

Despite the repeated appeals made by the local social, political and literary circles, the TMA still remains unable to remove these encroachments, created by the local influential people.

Likewise, the traffic police remain unable to chalk out a plan to ensure the smooth of traffic in Kashmiri Bazaar Sialkot. The encroachments created by the local politically influential people have besieged Iqbal Manzil from all the sides, leaving bad impression to the visitors. The way to Iqbal Manzil was very narrow and there was a dire need of its early widening by the TMA Sialkot.

The local shopkeepers have created the encroachments there due to which the traffic often remains jammed. On the other side, nine years have passed but the promise of the government to establish Iqbal Research Centre at Iqbal Manzil had not been fulfilled. The then provincial government had announced to establish Iqbal Research Centre in 2009, but the promise is still unfulfilled.

A few years ago, the Archaeology Department had given a fresh look to the 156 years ancient building. All the cracks in the roofs and inner and outer walls of the building had been filled during its repairing. The government had spent Rs14 million.

Syed Riaz Hussain Naqvi, caretaker of Iqbal Manzil, said that some Indian publishers and printers have donated 123 books on Iqbaliyat to Iqbal Manzil in a bid to pay rich tributes to Allama Iqbal.

These books have also been added in more than 4,200 books at its one-room library, he added. On the other hand, the neighbours of Iqbal Manzil have refused to sell out their houses located due to which the governmental plan of preserving it and saving it from growing encroachments remains in doldrums.

The federal government had chalked out a plan on the recommendations of Nazaria Pakistan Council. Under the plan, the government had decided to purchase all the 12 houses around Iqbal Manzil to establish a parking lot and an advanced research library.

When contacted, Nazaria Pakistan Council president said that the project was still intact. He said that the government should come forward to play its role for purchasing the houses around Iqbal Manzil.