RAWALPINDI, April 9: The Lahore High Court here on Friday directed the director general archeology, managing director Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation and secretary mines and minerals Punjab to appear in the court and respond to a petition seeking conservation and protection of two historical forts and temples in the district of Chakwal.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed issued the directives while taking up the petition filed by Advocate Qausain Faisal Mufti asking for preservation of Malot Fort and temples and Katras Fort.
The court also directed the advisory committee of the federal government constituted under the Antiquities Act of 1975, Punjab government?s advisory committee formed under the Special Premises Preservation Ordinance 1985, and the Pakistan Environment Protection Council to send their representatives on April 15, the next date of hearing.
Making both the federal and provincial governments through their respective departments as respondents, Advocate Mufti in his petition maintained that the less known Malot Fort and adjacent temples, located about 15 kilometres from Kalar Kahar, were constructed in 980 AD by Hindu Raja Malot. The fort survives only by a temple and gateway in the Kashmirian style of architecture.
They are built of coarse sandstones whose many parts have already suffered from the effects of weather.
He said though the Katras Fort located near Choa Syedan Shah in the Salt Range was first looked after by the federal government and later given to the Punjab government but no efforts had been made to preserve the beauty of the fort and its architecture.
The petitioner said continuous excavation of mines and minerals in the area had particularly put the site at the danger of extinction as it was located on the top of a hill which had become hollow.
On the other hand, the presence of three cement factories in the surrounding is also polluting the area damaging the structure of the fort.
The petitioner prayed the court to direct the respondents to take action to preserve the sites