OUR STAFF REPORTER

SIALKOT

Iqbal Manzil, the birth place of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (RA) in Sialkot, is faced with multiple problems such as narrow rooms and corridors, absence of strategy to preserve it, parking lot and poor sewerage system for years.

Narrowed rooms, corridors and tracks made with thin chip board have changed the original shape and design of the 153 years old Iqbal Manzil that is national heritage. These tracks have broken everywhere before their formal inauguration.

The Archeology Department this year has affixed these tracks to give the new look to this historical building. These tracks were laid in almost all the rooms, balconies and corridors in the two-storey Iqbal Manzil. These places were already very narrow and the tracks have further narrowed them, leaving no place for the visitors to enter the narrowed rooms and corridors.

According to the visitors, substandard material was used in the formation of these tracks due to which they have broken at almost all the points before their formal inauguration today. The department has spent huge amount on these tracks. The money might have been spent on the preservation of Iqbal Manzil in its original shape and design, they said.

The affixation of these tracks is out of the mind of everyone; even the officials of the Archeology Department could not give solid reason to affix these stands.

The government has provided new books on Iqbaliyat worth Rs350,000 to Iqbal Manzil, which have been added to the one-roomed library. It already has up to 4,000 ancient and rare books on Iqbaliyat. The department has also provided several unsuitable showcases meant for hanging cloths to display the rare books.

The building has not been whitewashed on its inner parts since 2009. However, the outer walls were white-washed a few years ago by the TMA officials. It has no sufficient place to hold an exhibition of the rare pictures, books and personal things of Allama Iqbal and his family members due to the unnecessary affixation of tracks and cupboards. Most of the rare pictures of Allama Iqbal and his family have been removed from the inner walls after the displaying of cupboards.

In addition, the Tehsil Municipal Administration remains unable to eliminate the decade-old problems of sewerage around the Iqbal Manzil, as the sewerage water has been going down to its foundation thereby weakening the ancient building.

The building also lacks parking lot in the congested Kashmiri Muhallah locality of Sialkot. Meanwhile, the Iqbal Centre established several years ago to promote the philosophy of Allama Iqbal, is in miserable condition and faced with acute shortage of staff.

Years have passed but the government has not evolved an effective strategy to preserve Iqbal Manzil. It is in dire need of Rs0.5 million for this purpose.