PESHAWAR: The controversy over the proposed demolition of Speen Jumaat deepened as Peshawar mayor, chairmen of several tehsils and religious and political leaders on Tuesday extended support to the mosque protection committee in opposition to the plan of district administration to pull down the structure.

“The district administration must desist from any intervention in the Speen Jumaat issue as we do not want a clash between people and administration that can result in chaos,” Peshawar Mayor Haji Zubair Ali told a press conference on the mosque premises.

The mayor also announced Rs15 million for renovation, beautification and improving drainage and important construction of the mosque.

Prior to the press conference, a consultative meeting was held wherein all the leaders presented suggestions and discussed in detail the current situation regarding the mosque.

Mayor, political leaders extend support to Speen Juamaat protection committee

Besides the mayor, the meeting was attended by JUI-F leader Maulana Amanullah Haqqani, Mathra tehsil chairman Faridullah, Pashtakhara tehsil chairman Haroon Siffat, PML-N leader Arbab Khizr Hayat, Mufti Naeem Jan, Maulana Rafiullah Usmani, members of the committee for protection of Speen Jumaat and local elders. All of them were also present during the press conference.

Addressing the press conference, the mayor said that the attitude of the officials of the district administration about the proposed demolition showed that they were pressurised by a political party.

He termed it unacceptable.

“No one will be allowed to use the land of the Peshawar metropolitan government in the presence of the relevant law and institution,” he said without naming the district administration.

The mayor said that he would order an inquiry to know one whose directives the name of the Auqaf department was used about the ownership of Speen Jumaat.

He said that people were grateful to Khalil tribe for dedicating such a valuable land decades ago for the construction of the mosque.

“We will protect the mosque and will not allow anyone to use this precious land for any other purpose,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Amanullah Haqqani said that demolition of the mosque for commercial purposes would never be allowed at any cost.

He said that district administration issued conflicting statements about the plan of demolishing the mosque which further increased their concerns.

He said that earlier the district administration said that a plaza would not be constructed on the site of the mosque, however, it acknowledged use of the land for commercial purpose when video and audio clips of the officials were shown to them.

Maulana Amanullah said that the district administration protected the house of legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar by recognising it as a heritage, but issued different statements about the historical status of the mosque.

He said that removal of even a single brick of Speen Jumaat would not be allowed. He said that the district administration would be responsible for consequences if it demolished the mosque.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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