MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Some residents and officials in northern Balkh province say various parts of the Hazrat Ali Shrine in Mazar-i-Sharif have damaged and could further damage if not repaired.
Eng. Zalmai Ansari, technical manager at the Rawza department, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the mosque’s building had damaged due to several decades of earthquakes, snowfalls, rains and explosions and its most portions needed preservation and restoration.
He expressed concern over the damaged portions of the shrine, saying if they were not repaired, a major part of the building would possibly get destroyed.
Haji Abdul Wahed Ansari, deputy manager of the shrine, noted that a survey of the damaged parts of the shrine was initiated five years ago.
Repair works at the shrine practically started three years ago, but the process came to a halt after completion of 28 percent work, he said.
Besides the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, he claimed, his department had sent letters to different departments in this regard, but so far no action had been taken.
Meanwhile, local residents also call on the incumbent government to preserve and protect such historical buildings.
Mohammad Arif, a resident of Mazar-I-Sharif, said in the previous years, the government paid attention to different aspects of Rawza Shrine, but now it had been ignored.
On every new year, Mazar-i-Sharif hosts local and foreign guests and the damaged parts of the Hazrat Ali Shrine should be repaired before the arrival of the new solar year that begins on March 21, noted Arif.
Nasibullah, another resident of the city, also said some parts of the shrine had damaged and the incumbent government should take care of the mosque like the previous government.
Confirming destruction of some parts of the building, the shrine maintenance head Mohammad AlemMobarez said he had discussed the issue with relevant departments.
Rehabilitation work at the shrine would start very soon, he assured, saying they had also made preparations for the New Year.
The capital of Balkh is known as Mazar-i –Sharif due to the Hazrat Ali’s grave in the blue mosque. According to historians, the body of Hazrat Ali (RWA), the fourth caliph, was brought from Najaf city here in the solar year 130.
Besides the graves of Hazrat Ali (RWA), Minister Mohammad Akbar Khan and Amir Shir Ali Khan, the shrine also contains the tombs of 52 other personalities.