Sarhad Conservation Network � (SCN) 2006
Additional Link of Interest:
Report on Muhafiz Khana  2004
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Oct 2006: SARHAD CONSERVATION NETWORK SERVES A STAY ORDER NOTICE ON THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT NWFP AGAINST THE DEMOLITON OF MOHAFIZ KHANA (Record Office), IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN
Interior of the Muhafiz Khana. Elegant colonial styled woodwork, balconies, high roofs and sky windows
Click on images to enlarge
Interior of the endangered colonial styled Mohafiz Khana (built 1854) notice the elegant woodwork, balconies, high roof and the sky windows - all left to rot
Save the 150-years old Muhafiz Khana building
SC moved to save historic Muhafiz Khana

The News, 12 Oct 2006 
PESHAWAR: In a bid to stop the demolition of the historic Muhafiz Khana dating back to 1854, the
Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN) has taken its case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A SCN press release said it along with the Hindukush Conservation Association, UK, had moved a petition in the court seeking enforcement of the fundamental rights with regard to protection and preservation of the Muhafiz Khana and the ancient banyan trees opposite it in Peshawar.
The petition quotes article 184 (3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well as articles 9, 14 and 28 to urge the court to declare the proposed demolition of the historic building in violation of the Constitution.
The respondents in the case are the secretary, local government and rural development department - North West Frontier Provinve, the Nazim-e-Aala, district Peshawar, chief secretary, NWFP, the district revenue officer, Peshawar and estate officer, government of NWFP. October 13 has been fixed as the date of hearing.
The press release said the century-old Muhafiz Khana has served as a repository of priceless (British-era and post independence) historic records of lands and court verdicts in criminal, civil and revenue cases. The government is responsible for its neglect and the building may collapse if the government remained indifferent to its maintenance.

There has been no maintenance of the building ever since the new devolution plan changed the old bureaucratic set-up in August 2001. The building stored all judicial verdicts in criminal, civil and revenue cases till June 18, 2003 when the then Peshawar High Court�s Chief Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan ordered the suspension of record keeping in the Muhafiz Khana for want of adequate maintenance.
Banyan tree and external front view of the Muhafiz Khana (Record Room)
Front Verendah
Spill ways/ water draining outlets fashioned in the shape of animal heads
Close view Spill ways/ water draining outlets fashioned in the shape of animal heads
Side of the building
Banyan tree opposite Mohafiz Khana, also threatned
front
SCN Press Release 11 Oct 2006:
Sarhad Conservation Network
has served a stay order notice in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, on the provincial government, NWFP against the demolition of the historic Muhafiz khana or Record Room (dating 1854). The petition is due for hearing on Friday, 13th October 2006.
 
The petition is served on behalf of Sarhad Conservation Network and Hindu Kush Conservation Association UK. Quoting Article 184 (3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it has also mentioned the demolition violative of Articles 9, 14, and 28 amongst others, of the constitution.
  
Serving the notice to the Secretary Local Government and Rural Development department, NWFP, it has prayed for enforcement of the fundamental rights with regard to the protection and preservation of historical building as well as the ancient banyan trees opposite the buildings with immediate effect.
  
The petition also names as respondents, the Nazim e Aala, district Peshawar, Chief Secretary, Gov-NWFP, the District Revenue Officer, Peshawar and Estate Officer Government of NWFP.
  
It may be recalled that the one and half century-old colonial styled Muhafiz Khana had served as a repository of priceless (British-era and post independence) historic records of lands and court verdicts in criminal, civil and revenue cases among others, and may collapse if the government remains indifferent to its maintenance. There is has been no maintenance of the building ever since the new devolution plan changed the old set-up of commissioner and deputy commissioner in August 2001.

  
Poor maintenance has contributed to worsening condition of the building as seepages may have destroyed some priceless record already. What we need is to save the remaining record from being lost. The building will also collapse if the government does not pay any attention to its maintenance. The building stored all judicial verdicts in criminal, civil and revenue cases till 18 June 2003 when Peshawar High Court former Chief Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan ordered the suspension of record keeping for want of adequate maintenance.
  
A former deputy commissioner of Peshawar blamed the Devolution Plan for poor state of affairs at the historic building. �Under the old system, the DC was taking care of the building. Now, there is no-one and we are losing something we would never retrieve,� he said wishing not to be named. Before the Devolution Plan, around 27 clerical staff was working to maintain record and look after the building. Today, the staff size was reduced to just four persons.
  
Half of record was shifted to Tehsil Building where the situation is worse than the Muhafiz Khan, the employees said.  �There is no ventilation system in Tehsil Building to keep record safe. Humidity will not allow you to stay for seconds inside that building and that is cutting short the life of papers,� one of the employees commented. �Look at the house across the road,� the employees pointed at the official residence of Peshawar corps commander,� that house is taken care by more than 100 soldiers. Don�t we need such attention to this building also, which is not precious for the province?�
  
Conservationists from all over the country as well as abroad supported SCN in its appeal to save the Muhafiz Khana�s pathetic condition. Yasmeen Lari from Heritage Foundation and Maureen Lines from KEPS requested the provincial authorities give them an opportunity to find donors for the upkeep and restoration of the Muhafiz Khana and to make it a sustainable tourist attraction for Peshawar�s heritage. �Losing this last vestige of colonial past in the midst of concrete monstrosities around it would be a tragic loss� observed Ms Maureen Lines. �Historic records are close to destruction, and, if it happens, will be great loss for Peshawar,� observed Mr Zahoor Durrani who runs the Khyber Safari Train and is also the culture and heritage coordinator of Sarhad Conservation Network.
  
�United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) have been approached to preserve the building as heritage site but authorities concerned have not made any attempt to attract foreign donors to repair and preserve the historic building,� the SCN official said.
  
�I am shocked to hear that the Muhfiz Khana is in danger again, after all the experts agreed on its importance as a historical and social monument, and after all the assurances from the Provincial authorities that it would be preserved.  Please add my name to any document to the government and the press to protest against demolition. I hope SCN can win!� said Ms Nicola Ruck in her email to SCN .Ms Ruck is a Health Human Resources Consultant, UK, and has lived in Peshawar in the 1980s.
  
SCN PRESS RELEASE  
11th October 2006
11 Year old, Ahmed Ali from Mohmand Agency was playing nearby when SCN's team visited the site. In all innocence he remarked: "I like this old building, especially the tiger heads on it."
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Click on images to enlarge
Click on images to enlarge
Priceless paper record from 19th century littered on the floor and in stacks
Priceless & fragile paper records from the 19th century stacked away carelessly
Mohafiz Khana report on BBC (Urdu) 2006
Mohafiz Khana report on BBC (Urdu) 2006
Court stays demolition order Nov 4, 2006 (DAWN)
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