By Nazar Abbas
Have you ever heard of a palace for rent at Rs 35 per month? Our Citizen reporter Nazar Abbas has investigated a story of such a palace in Rahim Yar Khan in this feature.
This palace is not of any Nawab, but of Khawaja Ghulam Farid, who was above all worldly things and luxuries. This palace was built by his disciple Nawab Sadiq Abbasi.
The palace was constructed on 8 kanal of land in 1894, which included a guest room, lawn and a mosque. This is the same palace where Nawab of Bahawalpur Sadiq Abbasi used to come to meet his spiritual leader. But today this palace of prominent Sufi poet is in shambles, and now only a sign remains of what was once a beautiful palace
A resident of Chacharan Sharif in Rahim Yar Khan, Atta ur Rehman talking to PakVoices said, “The palace, once used to be an identity of Saraiki region, has been destroyed completely due to ignorance of Auqaf Department and Punjab government.”
According to research by Pak Voices, another palace of Hazrat Khawaja Fakhr, brother of Ghulam Farid existed within the palace of Khawaja Ghulam Farid, which has been overtaken by land mafia.
More than 10 old residents of the area have confirmed to PakVoices that family of Sajjada Nashi (hereditary administrator) Khawaja Mazhar Farid Koreja has divided the palace land amongst themselves considering it as their inheritance. This is the family that is now occupying the palace at Rs 35 per month rent. Due to their occupancy, public is not allowed to enter the palace and see the historical building.
When PakVoices contacted a senior officer of Auqaf Department to know their stance on the issue, it was learnt that no one has been appointed to the post of District officer Auqaf.
Then PakVoices contacted former district officer Auqaf Department Mohammad Ayub who told us, “Farid palace has been given on lease as per law, and the payment of the lease is given on time.”
Though Ishtiaq, a rent clerk at Auqaf department told this scribe that the record of the Farid palace has lost from the Auqaf office and the current occupants have not paid the rent for the last 20 years. He confirmed that the palace had been leased to Koreja family on Rs 35 per month “but they have not paid the rent for the last 20 years.”
He further said, “Auqaf inspection team will visit the site in a week and submit the report on the latest situation.”
Mujahid Jatoi, a Seraiki Scholar, told Pak Voices, “Farid Palace is the identity of our Seraiki region. The Government instead of giving it on lease should have protected the national heritage.”
“Giving it on rent is a joke with our heritage,” he added.
Inside the palace, in one of the rooms, a carriage is present as well as a cot where Khawaja Ghulam Farid was given ghusal (bath). Rooftop of this room has caved in and this national treasure is on verge of being totally wiped out. Even today the poetry of Ghulam Farid is echoed everywhere and saving this national treasure has become the need of the hour.
About Author: Nazar Abbas is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Rahim Yar Khan.
Translated by Aneela Riazuddin