Decades-old jackfruit tree still stands tall in Kohat Customs House

Published January 14, 2022
A rare Kathal tree in the Customs House. — Dawn
A rare Kathal tree in the Customs House. — Dawn

KOHAT: The precious tree of rare jackfruit, known as Kathal fruit, in the old Kohat Customs House is guarded by two sepoys and an havaldar.

It was brought from New Delhi by Buster Goodwin, the first assistant collector, and planted in 1947 in Kohat Customs House, the oldest one in the country.

The tree was raised and looked after by Mr Goodwin who was a well-known British writer and author of “My life among Pathans”.

“It was given a bucket full of fresh blood every day brought from the abattoir with fertiliser and a special gardener had been kept for it,” said superintendent of customs Qazi Fayyaz on Thursday.

The Customs House was known as Salt House, for it also collected customs and duty from the salt produced in the mines of Karak, which was part of Kohat district at that time.

Each fruit was tagged and booked in advance for the officers being an excellent tonic for vitality.

The fruits were reserved for only officers and sent as a gift to Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and other customs houses in the country.

The tree still stands tall in the Salt House – now the Customs House which was formerly known as Goodwin House – after 74 years and bears fruits. Earlier, it gave 150 to 160 fruits, but stopped giving fruits after it was inflicted by a disease.

The official said that after treatment it had again started giving fruit after a break of seven years. He said the fruit tasted like Banana and was soft with a hard shell.

VISIT: District police officer Mohammad Suleman said during a visit to the complaint centre on Thursday that unavailability of resources would never come in the way of resolving problems and complaints of the people.

He advised the officials that no excuse would be accepted against non-registration of FIRs and misbehaviour with public. He said that public interest, upholding of the law and safeguarding human rights were the primary duties of police.

EX-PHC JUDGE DIES: Former judge of the Peshawar High Court, retired justice Qazi Hameeduddin, breathed his last after protracted illness here on Thursday.

He was the father of Dr Qazi Tahir and Mr Salman. He was laid to rest in his ancestral Sawa Lakh graveyard.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022

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