Jalalabad park closed to visitors
JALALABAD (PAN): The Siraj-ul-Emarat recreational park in eastern Nangarhar province has been closed for the past two days due to security concerns, officials said on Monday.
Police closed the park for several days while they established security checkpoints there, said Brig. Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal, the provincial police chief.
On Friday, police suspected a heroin addict in the park of being a suicide bomber, said Suleman, a businessman in Siraj-ul-Emarat.
Two days ago, a civilian was injured in a blast at the northeastern gate of the park. Police have closed 36 shops inside the park, according to vendor Suleman.
Governor Gul Agha Sherzai, who was not informed of the closure, disagreed with the action, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor.
Sherzai officially handed responsibility for Siraj-ul-Emarat to the Department of Information and Culture two years ago. But the department head, Samim, said he was not aware the park had been closed.
He urged police to maintain security there without closing the park, the only place where Jalalabad residents relax and study.
It was the only garden in Jalalabad with clean lawns, shops, sports facilities and a car park, said Hijratullah Ikhtyar, a member of the defence lawyers' society. "When I come from work, I usually go to the park. But for the last two days, I return home disappointed."
He urged the governor to reopen the park as soon as possible, because its closure dampens the morale of the people.
The garden and building in Siraj-ul-Emarat were constructed a century ago during Amir Habibullah Khan's rule. The garden of Amanullah Khan, the monarch credited with securing Afghanistan's independence, is located in front of the park.
The graves of Amanullah Khan, his wife Queen Suraya, his father Amir Habibullah Khan and Shafiqi Siraj are in this garden.
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