SIALKOT-Owing to the negligence of the government officials, encroachments are eclipsing the beauty of the 157-year-old national heritage Iqbal Manzil, the birth place of Allama Iqbal, situated at the Sialkot city’s Kashmiri Bazaar.

The encroachments have besieged the Iqbal Manzil from all the sides, leaving the bad impression to the visitors. A few years ago, the archaeology department had given a fresh look to the building. Iqbal Manzil In-charge Syed Riaz Hussain Naqvi said that some Indian publishers have donated 123 books on Iqbaliyat to Iqbal Manzil in a bid to pay rich tributes to the great poet. These books have been added to the 4,200 books at the one-room library at Iqbal Manzil, he added. The way leading to the building is very narrow and growing encroachments are also creating hurdles in the smooth flow of traffic. There is no place for parking in and around the Iqbal Manzil. Despite the repeated appeals made by social, educational and political circles, the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) still remains unable to remove the encroachments created by the politically influential people. It remained failed to allocate the parking places near Iqbal Manzil thus the visitors wrongly park their vehicles causing hours-long traffic jams.

The district administration remained failed to chalk out a traffic plan on the ways leading to the Iqbal Manzil to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. The social circles alleged that due to the lack of proper system, sewerage is entering the basis of the ancient building and badly affecting it from all the sides.

However, the display of several rare photos of Allama Iqbal and his other family members welcome and lure the visitors who reach there to visit this national heritage after passing through the growing encroachments.

On the other hand, the neighbours of Iqbal Manzil have refused to sell out their houses due to which the plan of preserving the national heritage and saving it from growing encroachments remains in a doldrums.

The federal government had chalked out a plan on the recommendations of Nazariya-e-Pakistan Council. Under the plan, the government had decided to purchase all the houses located around the Iqbal Manzil. However, the neighbours have turned down the offer. When contacted, NPC district President Mian Naeem Javaid said that the project was still in the pipeline. He said that the government should come forward to play its role for purchasing the surrounding houses.

The prolonged problem of open sewage is still damaging the foundation of Iqbal Manzil, as there was still open sewerage system around the historical legacy.

It is still in dire need of preservation in its original shape and design. Local people were of the view that due to the alleged slackness of Sialkot Municipal Corporation, the encroachments have mounted to a great extent in the narrowed Kashmiri Muhallah locality.