CHINIOT-The district administration has launched an ambitious project to rehabilitate and restore the 16th century’s Badshahi Masjid, a replica of Badshahi Masjid Lahore to its past glory.

In 16th century, this Chiniot Badshahi Mosque was built by a Chinioti - Nawaz Saadullah Khan, a close aide /Prime Minister of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was a replica of Lahore Badshahi mosque, but less in area and minars heights. It is one of the historical monuments and tourist attraction site of the chiniot which was visited by thousands of visitors from all over the country and also abroad.

There are 17 halls around the ground floor of the mosque which were meant for living the employees of the mosque but when the mosque was handed over to Auqaf Department some 50 years ago, these halls were converted into shops and 8 were leased out to shop keepers while rest of 9 were illegally occupied by the vendors but all paying rents according to prescribed rates.

The occupants opened iron sheets box making; chicken selling shops; vegetable shops over there which were causing bad odor; noise of pressing iron sheets with hammer and rush in the area, which keeps tourists away from the site besides disturbing the prayers offered there.

Moreover, the mosque is situated in the centre of old city, having narrow streets which makes heavy rush and traffic jams, discouraging the tourists to visit the site. A few weeks ago, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar visited Chiniot and wanted to visit these historical monuments but cancelled the visit due to hardly accessible narrow streets and bazaars.

Deputy Commissioner Aman Anwer Kedawii initiated the plan in which the Badshahi Mosque will be rehabilitated, renovated to past glory by civil works and improving landscape around the mosque.

He said that the joint project will be facilitated by Auqad department; Archeology ; Municipal committee chiniot; district administration and local NGOs working for the preservation of chiniot historical monuments.

He said that the joint project will be facilitated by Auqad department; Archeology ; Municipal committee chiniot; district administration and local NGOs working for the preservation of chiniot historical monuments.

The shops will be evacuated from vendors which will be given placement on empty auqaf site away from mosque to protect it from pollution. A food street, offering traditional chinioti foods like Mutton Kunna; biryani other rural foods, will be set up adjacent to mosque.

A museum has also been planned to be constructed there which cater the glorious past heritage of chinioti people; its wooden carving work; historical items belonging to chiniot.

An animal driven water well which has been scrapped on the courtyard of mosque will also be rehabilitated

The work on renovation of the mosque has already been started and lighting work is underway to give a fantastic look to mosque in night.