Islamabad since its inception in the early 60’s has long been known as the favourite hunting ground of the land mafia in the country. Some of the elite sectors of the capital city are comfortably some of the most expensive pieces if land in the country.
Given its proximity to the power echelons in the Secretariat and President House, Islamabad is also one of the most disciplined and organised city not only in the country but also in South Asia.
The rising population and the ever-increasing urbanization in the country has forced the Capital Development Authority to come up with new residential projects every once in a while, often causing the indigenous population of the area to forcibly relocate and abandon their century old abodes.
“Sadhu ka Bagh” an ancient Buddhist site located at the outskirts of the city, adjacent to the newly promulgated housing sector D-12, is now under increasing threat from land mafia and real estate encroachers.
The site is located in a 700 year old village Shah Allah Dita named after a Sufi saint from the times of Mughal Empire in subcontinent. The caves, encompassed by hundred-year-old Banyan trees and ancient wall murals in the caves depict them to be at least 2400 years old.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the caves and the platform-like formations surrounding the area were first used for meditation by Buddhist monks and later by Hindu sadhus before Muslim ascetics took over during the Mughal period.
Marked on the ground close to the caves the location where Alexander arrived and was received by Raja Ambi, King of Taxila. The road next to the caves that leads to the top of the mountain, Shah Allah Ditta road, is said to be built on the exact path followed by Mughal Emperor Sher Shah Suri during his visit.
For its close proximity to the newly developed and one of the mot expensive housing sectors D-12, Shah Allah Dita is now the hot cake of the Land mafia and the land which falls both in the jurisdiction of Margalla National Park and the Rural Islamabad is currently being sold in bulk.
A reasonably well poised piece of land in the area is worth 2.2 million a kanal at the moment, although the land some 10 years back was worth pennies.
Capital Development Authority announced in October 2010 that Sadhu ka Bagh will be preserved and restored as an ancient historic site and the project is reportedly funded by the Japanese Government. The project is still to see the light of the day after two years of the announcement.