Lahore, May 27 : A group of locals partially demolished the centuries-old “Guru Nanak Palace” and sold off its precious windows, doors and ventilators in Pakistan’s Punjab province, the media reported on Monday.
“Three storeys of the building have 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,” said Muhammad Ashraf, a local.
The four-storey “Palace of Baba Guru Nanak” is believed to have been constructed with bricks, sand, clay and limestone over four centuries ago in the Bathanwala village, about 100 km from Lahore. It was frequented by a number of Sikhs from across the world, including India, Dawn newspaper reported.
The walls surrounding the building showcased pictures of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak as well as of various Hindu rulers and princes. There were 16 large rooms in the building, all of which had at least three beautiful doors and as many as four ventilators.
The rooms had large broad walls with cupboards in them with wooden doors and flowers carved on them.
Residents of the area requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against those who demolished it.
“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,” said Muhammad Aslam, a local.
According to him, once a six-member delegation, including a woman carrying a large book with information about the historical building, had visited the place from Canada. The delegation was elated at visiting the site as if they had found a treasure, he added.
The daily reported that authorities were clueless about its “owner”. “The Auqaf Department was informed about the demolition of the building by some influential people, but no officer or official took any action or even reached here,” said another local.
To determine its legal status, locate its owners or find out which government agency maintained its record, Dawn reached out to various authorities from the Deputy Commissioner, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to the family that lived in the building, but to no avail.
Narowal Deputy Commissioner Waheed Asghar, 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 seemed to be historical, we are checking the municipal committee’s record.”
ETPB Sialkot zone Rent Collector Rana Waheed said, “Our team is investigating the Guru Nanak Mahal Bathanwala. If this palace was the property of Evacuee Trust Property Board, legal action will be taken against those responsible”.