LAHORE: The administration of the Jamia Muhammadia mosque and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Tuesday settled down their issues regarding the allocation of alternate land for the construction of a new mosque.
Jamia Muhammadia, which was one of the religious seminaries including other mosques and churches situated on the route of the ongoing mega project – the Orange Line Metro Train Project (OLMT) – had been demolished by the Punjab government on January 20.
The students and administration of the Jamia Muhammadia, as a reaction to the demolition without the allocation of a new land, had earlier been continuing a protest demonstration while carrying out all their activities on the road for they alleged that the government was reluctant to provide them with space for the construction of a new mosque.
“We even tolerated the demolition while thinking of the greater good and national interests,” the mosque’s administration had said earlier and added that the government’s actions had forced them to stage the protest by occupying the land of the route because they had no other place to continue their activities at.
However, the administrator of the mosque, Qari Awais told this correspondent that they had no other agenda and did not even want to create any hurdles for the project. He also said that the mosque’s administration had several courses of negotiations with the OLMT administration for the allocation of alternate land.
“Several times we identified the lands while the government also pointed out some lands to allocate but the process remained till negotiations,” Awais said adding that now the government had found another land for which OLMT’s Steering Committee Chairman Khawaja Ahmed Hassan had assured them on Monday the government had completed all the due procedures of land acquisition for.
“We will wind up our protest soon,” he added.
OLMT’s steering committee Chairman Khawaja Ahmed Hassan while talking to Pakistan Today confirmed that the government had settled down all issues with the mosque administration. While informing about the proceedings of the meeting with the mosque’s administration, he said that the authorities had completed the documents for acquisition of the new land.
“We were conscious to acquire the land according to the mosque administration’s will and that was why the process was delayed,” he said while adding that the government was facilitating the mosque administration in terms of accommodation of its students while a new building was constructed on 18 marlas according to the administration’s demand.
Sources inside the LDA informed that the government had procured a plot of 32 marlas worth Rs56 million on the Bahawalpur road behind the Suraya Azeem Hospital. They said that the documents had been completed to compensate the owner of the land.
It may be noted that the LDA had demolished almost all religious seminaries with the consent of their authorities while allocating alternate lands and suitable compensations. However, the authorities had remained reluctant in demolishing the Jamia Muhammadia due to the unavailability of suitable land. The new land was not yet acquired when the Punjab government demolished the mosque and seminary adjacent to it with the consent of the mosque administration in a bid to continue with the construction work of the OLMT.
The said mosque was established in 1927 while at the time of demolition it had a total area of two kanals and over 400 students studying in the seminary attached to it. The government demolished the construction on the needed 22 marlas of the seminary while promising to construct a new building on 18 marlas besides allotting 2 kanals of new land.
The demolition taking place prior to the allotting of land led to the issues among the government and the administrators of the mosque.