The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has set the legal process rolling to buy the ancestral houses of two Indian film legendary actors and friends, Dilip Kumar and the late Raj Kapoor, in Peshawar.
The KP government has enacted a necessary section of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 of the state, which authorises the government to take possession of both the houses on emergency basis. The amount will soon be released to the deputy commissioner (DC) of Peshawar for payment to the landowners.
The price of Dilip Kumar’s 101 square metres house has been fixed at $50,517 while that of Raj Kapoor’s 151.75 square metres at $94,061 by the Archaeological Department of Pakistan.
According to a report, the owners for a long time were not willing to sell these houses as the government was not willing to pay the market prices. Their objections were that the prime location properties have been severely undervalued.
The owner of Kumar’s ancestral house has demanded Rs250 million for the property and the owner of the ancestral house in Peshawar of Raj Kapoor demanded Rs2 billion. The KP government claimed that the owners were demanding exorbitantly higher prices and blackmailing the authorities due to the importance of these premises.
Kapoor’s ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, is located in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazaar. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the legendary actor’s father Prithvi Raj Kapoor.
These buildings , which are in shambles, were declared a national heritage by the provincial government of KP last year. In the past, the owners of the two buildings have made several attempts to demolish them for constructing commercial malls in view of their prime location. Fortunately, this was stopped as the archaeology department wanted to preserve them, keeping in view their historic importance.
The two homes are right near the 2,000-year-old Qissa Khwani Bazaar. The bazaar once served as a camping ground for the caravans of travelling merchants.
Last year, when news broke about making Kumar’s house a museum, his actress-wife Saira Banu took to Twitter to thank the KP government. “I wish the provincial government success in its efforts and sincerely hope that this time the dream comes true. Mashallah. My heart fills up with joy each time I receive the same news about the ancestral home of Yusuf Saheb in Peshawar in North West Frontier province which the provincial government has been repeatedly trying to turn into a monument for posterity,” she tweeted.