Islamabad: Several civil society groups and activists from Pakistan`s northwest have formed a `jirga` or council to work for the protection of Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar`s ancestral home in Peshawar.
The civil society groups involved in the move include the Bangladesh, Bharat and Pakistan People`s Forum, Karwan, Citizen for Clean Environment and Almi Pushto Congress.
Journalists and columnists like Younas Qiyasi, Syed Bukhar Shah and Nasir Hussain are also part of the jirga.
Addressing a news conference at Dilip Kumar`s residence in Mohallah Khudadad today, Bangladesh, Bharat and Pakistan People`s Forum chairman Shakeel Ahmad said the jirga was formed to save the heritage of Peshawar.
Dilip Kumar in a celebrity of international stature and protection of his ancestral home is a responsibility of the government and people of the region, he said.
The government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province recently put on hold its plan to buy Dilip Kumar`s home and preserve it as a national heritage site after several persons laid claim to the property on learning that authorities were willing to pay a sizeable amount for it.
The provincial government has plans to acquire the homes of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor and declare them heritage sites.
The government`s decision prompted the civil society groups to approach the current owner of Dilip Kumar`s home and to request him to delay its destruction.
Ahmad said the jirga members will meet government representatives, the Chief Minister, the Governor and political leaders and request them to take steps to protect the local heritage.
Ahmad said Dilip Kumar`s home is in a very dilapidated condition and is vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquake, wind storm or heavy rain.
"We can protect the house in its actual condition and if a decision is delayed, we may lose it," he said.
He asked the government to check its land records and to meet the original owner of the house to draw up a sale deed.
He also thanked the current owner, Ikramullah Khan, for giving the jirga time to save the house from demolition.
Ahmad said a committee of land record experts will be formed to examine and establish the real owner of the house.
The jirga urged the local government to name the two ends of the historic Qissa Khwani Bazar after Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.
First Published: Friday, July 13, 2012, 18:58