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Work begins on renaming historic Fowara Chowk

Work begins on renaming historic Fowara Chowk

BAHAWALPUR: In the light of the court order, the process to change the name of Fowara Chowk to Khatm-i-Nubawat Chowk has been initiated.

Municipal Corporation Mayor Aqeel Najam Hashmi told Dawn on Friday that in pursuance of the verdict of a division bench of the Lahore High Court’s Bahawalpur bench in an intra-court appeal (ICA), the Local Government and Community Development Department has been assigned the task. He said the court had sought the name be changed within 15 days.

He said the name would be changed after the provincial secretary gave the green signal. He said for the time being he had asked his subordinates to remove the red colour painted on the faces of the idols of lions around the old and original circle of the fountain. He said the fountain would continue to function for the amusement of the citizens and its structure would remain the same as directed by the court.

The fountain, he said, would continue to function regularly on fixed timings in the night hours as it had been restored by the former Parks and Horticulture Authority director general, Dr Ehtesham Anwar Mahar, on Aug 14, 2016.

The replica of the historic fountain was a gift to the late Nawab Sir Sadiq Khan Abbasi from Queen Victoria of England in 1880 and the late Nawab had fixed it in 1918 at this intersection. One such fountain was installed at Buckingham Palace the same year. The fountain is 10-foot high with its peripheral pond decorated with heads of animals like lion from whose mouths the water gushes out making a rainbow.

It was specially transported from London to Karachi by ship and then to Bahawalpur by road. It was first affixed at Sadiqgarh Palace – the residence of the Nawab of Bahawapur -- but later in 1918 he had it installed at the chowk.

A division bench (Bahawalpur bench) of the Lahore High Court had dismissed an intra-court appeal against the renaming of Fowara Chowk as Khatm-i-Nubawat Chowk. The appeal (No 4/2014) was filed by Mian Faizul Hassan, a retired district and sessions judge, against the decision of single bench headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan of the LHC (Bahawalpur bench) on Dec 31, 2013.

Justice Khan had given the verdict on the writ petition (No 7606/2013) of one Muhammad Ashfaq.

On Feb 11, 2014, the high court on the plea of Mian Faizul Hassan ordered that there should be no change to the structure of the gifted fountain. But the then administration brought about some structural changes with the result that the fountain became dysfunctional. Later, on a contempt of court application of the petitioner, the LHC single bench had ordered the local administration (on March 19, 2015) to remove all the articles which affected the monument.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2017

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