BAHAWALPUR: The archaeology department has completed a survey of historical places, including forts in Cholistan along the border with India falling within jurisdictions of three districts of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan.

The survey has been conducted to prepare a comprehensive plan for restoration of the crumbling forts and conservation of the decaying historical buildings in Cholistan desert, Dawn learnt.

The survey has been undertaken on the initiative/directive of the Pakistan Army officials.

According to sources, the army officers, who had already taken measures to preserve Noor Mahal and Gulzar Mahal in Bahawalpur and other historical places in the region, were now moving for restoration of crumbled structures of the forts whose remains were still visible at the sites.

The archeology department’s Sub-Divisional Officer Sajjad Ahmed told Dawn that a team, led by Deputy Director Muhammad Hassan, had undertaken the tour to the Cholistan desert for survey of crumbling buildings of the former forts. He said the team visited 13 forts, namely Jam Garh, Mauj Garh, Din Garh, Mir Garh, Phulra/Fort Abbas, Khan Garh, Rukanpur, Bijnot, Nawan Kot, Marrot, Bara Sardar Garh and Derawar Fort.

Former Divisional Commissioner Saqib Zafar during his posting here had directed the Bahawalpur Museum officials to prepare a list of the historical places and heritage sites worthy of preservation to promote tourism in the area in winters. But after his transfer, the process of registration of such monuments was stalled and more information could not be collected. However, Dawn learnt that there were about total 46 monuments and historical places in Cholistan that needed to be conserved and all except 13 had been razed to the ground.

Now under the patronage of the army, the archaeology may move further and submit a plan to the Punjab government for allocation of funds for restoration of these 13 sites.

ARRESTED: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) claims to have arrested a sub-divisional officer of the irrigation department on charge of corruption.

According to the ACE statement, it had registered a first information report (FIR) against SDO Muhammad Arshad on Aug 17, 2020. The suspect was currently posted in the Kotla Musa Khan area of tehsil Ahmedpur East.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) claims to have sealed 13 food points in the districts of Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar over poor hygienic conditions.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020

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