Construction of Judicial Complex at Bagh-i-Safa, SCP takes notice
By News Desk
November 6, 2023 06:37 PM
The Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faiz Isa on Monday took notice of the construction of a judicial complex by the Lahore High Court in place of national heritage- Bagh-i-Safa, a Mughal’s era garden located in Kallar Kahar, reported the 24NewsHD TV channel.
According to sources, Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa has sought a report from the Lahore High Court Registrar regarding the construction of the complex.
The construction of a judicial complex at the expense of a national heritage site has raised concerns, prompting the intervention of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
The news regarding the construction of a Judicial Complex in place of the iconic Bag-i-Safa in Kallar Kahar has garnered attention and sparked a wave of public concern and discussions within legal circles.
This report is expected to shed light on the details and circumstances surrounding the decision to replace the historic site with a judicial complex.
It is pertinent that Bagh-i-Safa was constructed by Mughal empire founder Zaheer-u-Din Babar, which has already shrunk after losing its land to two rest houses has been deprived of a significant portion of its land as the Punjab government transferred the possession of its 16.4 kanals to Lahore High Court for building a judicial complex, the construction of whose boundary wall has been started after uprooting a number of trees.
The construction of the wall is supposed to be completed within 12 months at a cost of Rs14.91 million.
A directive in this regard was issued by the assistant registrar (maintenance) of the LHC, Rabia Rafi, on August 24, 2023.
Ironically, LHC has 80 kanals of land for that very purpose in Kallar Kahar at the bank of Kallar Kahar Lake near the motorway interchange and that land has been lying abandoned since 2015 when its possession was transferred to the LHC.
According to the introductory plaque installed at the entrance of the garden, the garden exists on 111 kanals but in reality, it has only 68.3 kanals which means a large number of its area has already been shoved into the construction activities.
Now after losing 16.4 kanals to the LHC, the garden has been further shrunk to almost 52 kanals.
The Chakwal administration transferred the possession of 16.4 kanals to LHC on Feb 14, 2023 while on January 22, 2022, then deputy commissioner Chakwal retired Capt Bilal Hashim had written a letter to higher authorities including senior member Board of Revenue and secretaries tourism and forest departments highlighting the historic significance and natural beauty of the garden.
He had requested that the garden be declared as a botanical garden so that it could be preserved in its present state.
“Furthermore, steps may be taken by the Forest Department and Tourism Department to enhance the biodiversity of the garden and to transform it into a modern botanical garden which will prove to be a great tourist destination for the area”.
Bagh-i-Safa dotted with different fruit plants like loquats, peaches, apricots, bananas and having old peepul trees was considered a natural habitat of peacocks till a few years ago. But now, peacocks rarely squawk and honk on its premises as their population has been decreased drastically due to increasing human presence as the district council and police rest houses are frequented by officials and their families besides a number of picnickers from general public.
The pathetic aspect is that this historic garden is infested with parthenium, the deadliest weed called Gajar Bootiin in local parlance while its fruit trees yield poor production as there are no proper drains to irrigate them and the water of a natural spring which flows beside the garden is unable to irrigate it.