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A 1200-year-old Kuri Jamia Masjid a masterpiece of architecture

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By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Islamabad, the Capital City of Pakistan, has been significant in history not only for being a part of the crossroads of the Rawalpindi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province but it has several historical sites. The City was built in 1960 to replace Karachi as the Pakistani Capital and the then President Ayub Khan laid the foundation stone of the new Capital City; however, people of the Country have little or no knowledge about the historical City located in the suburb of Islamabad, which was called the Kuri City.

The historic Kuri City is located near Chak Shahzad at a distance of few kilometers from the Red Zone of the Federal Capital. The Kuri City was not only known for being the financial hub but it has a historic mosque, which is a heritage that was built some 1200 years ago, according to the details revealed in a Vlog by journalist Asghar Chaudhary.

It might be quite surprising for many as how a mosque was built centuries ago as the Islamabad foundation was laid down some 50 years back.

After almost a century when Muhammad Bin Qasim led the Muslim conquest of Sindh, two Irani brothers namely Abdul Latif and Abdul Hafiz while passing through the Potohar region, came to the Kori City, which was considered as the financial hub and regional trade center at that time. Abdul Latif preferred to stay in the Kuri City for preaching purposes and set up a mosque in the area. Though, the mosque built over 1200 years ago is a masterpiece of architecture and even difficult to find such art of construction in modern days. It is one of the few significant architectural monuments but unfortunately, the federal department of Archaeology and Museums never paid any attention to it.

The Persian calligraphic pieces and engraving found on various surfaces of the structure illustrated the rich Persian culture of the time. The majority of inhabitants of the City were Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs and they all were living together in the City; however, after partition, Hindus and Sikhs left the area. The historic Kuri Jamia Masjid (mosque) was surrounded by large and small old houses, which are now turned into debris.

A villager told this scribe that all houses made of special sort of breaks were of Sardars and the well-off families like Ranjit Sindh, where there were special places for security guards and a system of light. Rajit Singh Sikh ruled the area later due to which Muslims faced some problems as well. A young researcher Amjid Ali, who lives on another side of Margalla Hills, wrote a lot about the City.

A road passing through NIH and Chak Shehzad takes you to the old Kuri City in the new Islamabad. Thanks to the Housing society that widen the road considerably. However, the road link to the City is still in dilapidated condition and the City remained among the most neglected areas of the federal capital. Therefore, the historic City remained a backward city as once can only find old houses, stone made old well, and the historic mosque namely Qadima Jamia masjid.

The calligraphy and antique engraving on various structures of the mosque were quite appealing for visitors. However, the mosque was ramshackle mainly because of the apathy of the departments concerned for long. Only then, the locals whitewashed the mosque some 30 years ago due to which its attractive colors and calligraphy had vanished. The government needs to give proper attention to preserve the national heritage.

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