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Ancient Bala Hesar in Gardez falling into ruin

Ancient Bala Hesar in Gardez falling into ruin

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Jul 09, 2019 - 18:08

GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Information and culture officials say the ancient fortress Bala Hesar in this capital city of southeastern Paktia province has been in a bad situation and is on the verge of collapse.

Gardez residents criticize the government for its negligence to preserve the historic fortress and say officials had several times promised reconstructioninfo-icon of the Bala Hesar, but nothing happened in action so far.

Fazal Haq, a resident of third police district of Gardez city, told Pajhwok Afghan News that there were many ancient sites in the province but the Gardez Bala Hesar was known on regional level.

He asked all organs concerned, particularly the Presidential Palace, to allocate a special budget and engineering team for reconstruction of the fortress.

Nargis Wijdan, a civil societyinfo-icon activist in Gardez, said the Bala Hesar remained intact despite decades of war but now it was on the brink of ruin.

“The damaged parts of the fortress should be repaired and their further destruction prevented, it is a very ancient site and should be worked on seriously,” she said.

Aziz Rahman Shafaq, another civil society activist, criticized relevant national and international organizations, particularly UNESCO, over negligence about protection of the Gardez Bala Hesar.

“It is a very old fortress of Paktia, which has been ignored, it receives huge damages each winter, it is very sad the site is not registered with UNESCO, I don’t know what this organization is doing,” he said.

On the other hand, Paktia information and culture director Mohammad Shafa Shafaq agreed with people’s concerns and said the Gardez Bala Hesar was in bad condition and they had shared its repairing issue with the relevant ministry and UNESCO but no action could be so far taken.

He said there were many other historical sites in Paktia but the Gardez Bala Hesar was in need of urgent attention.

“We have prepared a good plan for repairing Gardez Bala Hesar and we have it shared with the US embassy, UNESCO and other organizations, but unfortunately no attention is paid to the fortress which is falling into ruin,” he said.

President Ashraf Ghani during a trip to Paktia had promised to allocate $5 million for the Bala Hesar’s reconstruction and building a museum inside it.

mds/ma

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