BAHAWALPUR: The local archaeology department has proposed excavation at theree potential heritage sites in Cholistan which, according to the officials, may have relics of ancient human settlements.

The department’s officials have proposed to their provincial office in Lahore to start excavation at these sites in the Cholistan desert area around the former Nawab of

Bahawalpur’s Shikargah (hunting area) falling within the jurisdiction of Ahmedpur East tehsil of the district.

Archaeology Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Sajjad Malik told Dawn that the Cholistan Development Authority (CDA) managing director had informed the department that the his field staff had identified three places -- Snaika Thair (mound) at 33-DRB village on Derawar-Liquatpur road, Parhara Thair in Basti Azeamwali in the interior Cholistan and Sadhowala Thair near 96-DNB village -- where suspicious activities by some private persons searching for objects related to some ancient period.

The SDO said that acting on the proposal, teams of the department recently visited these sites, finding signs of illegal excavation, including trenches and ditches, there.

He added that the teams also found large potsherds, burnt bricks and other artifacts there. According to an official, as the sites were not protected by the department, local ‘treasure hunters’ might have been carrying out illegal excavation there. He opined that the objects found at these sites appeared to be belonging to Harappa period.

He said the department had been recommended to take measures for protection of these sites by involving law-enforcing agencies and start excavation there.

BID FOILED: The city police foiled on Wednesday a bid to marry a minor girl to a man at Gulzar Town, Ahmedpur East, arresting the would-be groom.

According to sources, on a tip-off a police team conducted a raid on a house in Gulzar Town where the arrangements for the underage marriage were complete. The police arrested the groom-to-be Zahid (25), and his father Saleem. As per police, Zahid was going to marry a 12-year-old girl.

The nikah khwan (registrar) managed to flee the scene, the police added. The police registered a case.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021

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