Musharraf, 79, a former president of Pakistan and four-star general, who came to power through a coup in 1999, died at a hospital in Dubai on Sunday after a prolonged illness.
In 2001, a narrow lane behind Golcha Cinema in Old Delhi’s Darya Ganj where the Neharwali Haveli stood was abuzz. The haveli itself was being decorated after undergoing a thorough cleaning, preparing for a guest who was born there on August 11, 1943 — Pakistan’s former President Parvez Musharraf.
He was born in Old Delhi’s Darya Ganj at his nanihaal (grandmother’s house). Today, the street is called Pratap Street and is full of multi-storey apartments, houses and builder flats. It once had broad lanes, a big haveli with multiple rooms, halls, kitchen, verandah and even a garden.
Most of the haveli has now been demolished to make way for new houses. A small portion of the haveli still stands and is owned by Devendra Kumar Jain, who currently lives there with his family. Surrounded by multi-storey buildings, the Jain House as it is called now is the only house which has only one floor, a small open area, a terrace and rooms.
“We don’t know when he and his family lived here. We got to know about it when he visited in 2001. My brother Raj Kumar Jain got a call from the ministry that he wants to visit his ancestral house. Then arrangements were made for his visit,” said Jain.
“Musharraf’s grandmother’s family lived here. They left after Partition in 1947. My brother was at home when he visited the haveli in 2001. The visit was arranged by then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to strengthen India-Pakistan relations. The entire lane, streets and area was blocked and was under strict vigil for about three days during his visit. Security from both India and Pakistan was deployed across the area, terrace and entrance of the streets. Residents could not go out. No one could see him,” he added.
Musharraf’s grandfather Qazi Mohtashimuddin had bought the haveli for a few hundred rupees after retiring from government service. It was before his trip to India that Musharraf asked Vajpayee if he could visit his ancestral home.
Javed Khan (62), another resident who remembers his visit in 2001, said, “Security was increased and the haveli was cleaned and upgraded a bit. He gifted Rs 10,000 to the old lady who is said to have worked at his house. It is said that she used to take care of the former Pakistan president when he lived here. She died a few years ago.”
Residents say that thanks to Musharraf’s visit, a sewer line was laid and roads and lanes were re-carpeted. “For that, we thank him,” said Asgar Ali, who moved to the area from Turkman Gate two decades ago.
Source: The Indian Express