Altaf Hamid Rao
MIRPUR (AJK):(Parliament Times) The Supreme Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir has, in a suo-moto case about preservation and safety of the archaeological asset across AJK, expressed dissatisfaction over the recently-submitted interim report of the Tourism and Archaeology Department of AJK government about due preservation and safety of the places of worships of the minorities in Azad Jammu Kashmir.
A full-bench of the Supreme Court of AJK headed by the Chief Justice Muhammad Muhammad Ibrahim Zia in an under-trial suo-moto case titled Robkar v/s Deputy Commissioner etc, directed the Secretary and Director General of the Department of Tourism and Archaeology of AJK government to take immediate stringent practical steps to get vacated the illegally-occupied ancient sites of religious places including the places of worships of the minorities besides the historic forts and their adjacent places from the unlawful possession of the ‘Qabza Maafia’ (unlawful occupants).
The learned apex court of AJK also directed the Department of Tourism and Archaeology of AJK to submit the report about positive and practicable proposals for the restoration and preservation of the AJK-based ancient historic sites including the places of worships of the minorities within next three months.
The full bench of the Supreme Court of AJK also ordered the above department to present a report containing comprehensive proposals for the safety, security and restoration of the historical centuries old Ramkot fort, located amidst the Mangla Dam reservoir in Mirpur district with prime focus to make it an attractive hub of tourism to attract the tourists from across the country including AJK with the coordination of the world-reputed institutions of tourism. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of AJK, while taking a suo-moto action under rule order XLV11 of AJK Supreme Court Rules – 1978 over the alleged reports about the illegal occupation of an ancient site adjacent to a place of worship of minorities including the adjacent sites of four abandoned temples in Kotli district as well as in Sharda area of Neelam valley (Athmuqam district) by some local influential, had issued notices to the AJK Department of Archaeology & Tourism and the Deputy Commissioners of the concerned districts with orders to submit the report about the preservation, safety and restoration of the ancient sites including the historic abandoned sites of the places of worships of the minorities.
At the same time, local lawyers including ex DBA Mirpur President Muhammad Riaz Inqlabi Advocate, Muhammad Iqbal Dutt Advocate, Mushtaq Buksh Advocate, senior Kashmiri journalist Zaffar Mughal, Aslam Watnoof and others, while jumping into the above under trial suo-moto case, through a written application also prayed to the apex court of AJK for the safety, security and preservation of the centuries old buildings of cultural heritage including the religious sites and their adjacent places through their early release from the unlawful occupation of the land grabbers in various parts of Azad Jammu Kashmir.