Posted by : shabbirbhutta Wednesday, 7 September 2016

SHABQADAR fort near Peshawar

It is a more than century ago the gates were chained to this day as a punishment, awarded by the Court martial by a Sikh Commander.

One night, in the winter of 1840, a Pakhtun Mohmand Tribal Lashkar attacked Shankargarh Fort, presently known as SHABQADAR fort. The Sikh garrison of the fort, commanded by Prince Sher Singh, son of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, had a very tough time defending the fort. During the fighting, the Mohmands were able to break open the main gate and enter the fort, however, the Sikhs managed to fight them off and eject them from the fort by morning. He was upset because the gates failed to hold the enemy back and decided to vent his anger at the structures and started trial of these gates. Two gates of the SHABQADAR fort were chained for 100 years after they failed to contain an attack. They incurred the wrath of the fort’s Sikh Commander.

The wooden gates of the old fort had been tied to the tower with two heavy chains. The hapless wooden structures which had incurred the wrath of Prince Sher Singh and General Ventura (An Italian veteran, re-employed in Sikh army by Maharaja Ranjit Singh). Even though the period is now over, meanwhile, the gates remain in chains to this day.

It is learnt that Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was once in the vicinity during the 1970s and was asked whether these chained gates could be freed as the hundred year imprisonment term had already been completed. As one would have expected, Bhutto, possessing the highest degree of wit and humour, turned down the proposal insisting the doors to be kept chained in perpetuity, so that nobody dares to falter in their assigned duties.

So, the gate, named “the Weeping Willow”, is still imprisoned to this day, as both the doors of the gate, almost 20 feet tall and painted black continue to be chained to the minaret with big chains!

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