FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Powerful individuals and government departments have usurped lands containing important archaeological sites in northeastern Badakhshan province, an official said on Tuesday.
Director of Information and Culture Syed Hussain Naheeb told Pajhwok Afghan News they had been able to retake less than an acre of the grabbed land after several years of efforts.
“We wrested back this small piece of land in the limits of Mir Yar Baig’s tomb in forth municipality district of Faizabad, the provincial capital,” he said.
A case was filed in court which decided in the favour of the department, Naheeb added. Part of the area surrounding Khirqa-i-Mubarak had been grabbed by the Hajj and Religious Affairs department, he alleged.
Residential plots have been constructed on the land, part of which has been converted into a graveyard, according to the director, who called the grabbing of historical sites a violation of the law.
Naheeb did not have an exact estimate of the land usurped and refused to name the grabbers. But he said efforts were underway to get back the land containing historical sites through legal means.
He said 22 ancient sites — five in Faizabad and the rest in different districts — were registered with the culture department.
Reconstruction Barat Seminary in Yamgan district, Mir Yar Baig’s mausoleum in Faizabad and 11 old shops was underway.
The Agha Khan Cultural Foundation is supporting the reconstruction work, which will be completed in 90 days. He said a survey of old Pul-i-Khashti had been conducted by the Foundation and the rehabilitation work would start soon.
Badakhshan is a mountainous province with lush green valleys, bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. The province is rich in natural resources such as azure, ruby and gold besides having several historical sites.