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After Metropole Hotel, Nainital, ‘Kabul House’ property of former Amir of Afghanistan to be taken over by administration

Illegal encroachers ordered to vacate within 15 days

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After Metropole Hotel, Nainital, ‘Kabul House’ property of former Amir of Afghanistan to be taken over by administration


Dehradun, Oct 22

After demolitions of the illegal encroachments from famous Metropole Hotel of Nainital in July this year, which was designated as an ‘enemy property’ belonging to Raja of Mahmudabad Mohammad Amir Ahmed Khan, who migrated to Pakistan after partition of the country in 1947, The Dehradun district administration has ordered that the another property belonging to a former Amir of Afghanistan located on East Canal road and earlier known as ‘Kabul House’ be taken over and ordered all the alleged illegal occupants to vacate within 15 days.

Dehradun District Magistrate Sonika rejected the claims of the claimants on the property in the case pending for the past four decades. The matter had come to light in 1984 when the then UP commissioner revenue wrote to dehradun District Magistrate to get all the illegal encroachers removed from the property of Kabul Hosue on East canal road. The government order was challenged in the Allahabad High court which gave a stay and later after the formation of the state of Uttarakhand in 200, the matter was transferred to the Nainital high court which in 2007 duly sent the issue to be decided by the District Magistrate.

The dilapidated building of ‘Kabul House’ on EC, Road, Dehradun . photo by Vinod Pundir 

Despite the claim of the administration that the property vest with Custodian (evacuee property), various claims on the property kept piling up as the value of the property in the heart of the city multiplied manifold over the years. It was in 2021 that high court ordered the administration to decide the matter.

During these years, various claimants came up including one Shahis who claimed to be the son of one Abdul Razzak who owned more than five bighas of land before partition of the country in the area .But after the partition nobody came to own the property and it was distributed amongst refugees coming from Pakistan as evacuee property.

The dilapidated ‘Kabul House’ building which was being sold. Photo by Vinod Pundir 

The said claimant even started selling the property of Kabul hosue through power of attorney given to one Arif Khan. Even a third party of Dehradun had applied to be impleaded in the case. Dehradun District Magistrate Sonika rejected all these claims in her order.

It was stated in the DM court that the owner of the property Mohammad Yakood Khan, Amir of Afghanistan who was interned in Dehradun valley in1879 died in 1923. The names of his three sons namely sardar Moahmmad Azam Khan, Sardar Ali Khan and Sultan Ahmed Khan are registered in the property assessment of Dehradun municipality in the year 1934-37 and 1943-48. After the partition of the country, the family migrated from India and the property was declared as Custodian property with Municipality in 1958.The Dehradun DM has asked the Dehradun police to register cases against all those who manipulated the land records of the property in their own favour.

It was in the year 1839 after the first Anglo Afghan war in which British and then Punjab ruler Maharja Ranjit Singh invaded Afghanistan to install Shah Shuja, the grandson of Ahmed Shah Abdali as the ruler. Shah Shuja had been living in exile at Ludhiana and was promised his lost throne by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who reportedly parted with Kohinoor diamond to get this help. Shah Shuja of Durrani empire was Amir of Afghanistan from 1803 to 1809 but was defeated and took refuge in Punjab and Kashmir. Later, he escaped from Maharaja Ranjit Singh and sought refuge from east India Company at Luidhiana where he stayed till 1839. The place he stayed in Ludhiana was now part of main post office near Mata Rani Chowk.

In the First Anglo –Afghan war, Dost Mohammad Khan reconciled with his fate and surrendered to Britishers and was interned at Mussoorie, where he built of replica of his palace known after the famous Afghan fort of Bala Hissar at Barlowganj area. The building now house famous Wynberg Allen school. Dost Mohammad Khan during his six years stay at Mussoorie brought the famous Afghan Basmati rice to Doon. After the killing of Shah Shuja on April 5, 1842, the Britishers decided to return the throne to Dost Mohammad Khan as part of its’ ‘Great Game’ against Russia, who returned back to Kabul. In 1875, when Sher Ali third son of Dost Moahmmad Khan did not allow a British delegation to enter Afghanistan, the war was imminent as Britishers wanted to secure the Afghanistan border from Russians. The Britishers attacked Kabul in 1878 forcing Sher Ali to flee while his son Yakoob Khan signed the ‘Treaty of  Gandamak’ in 1879. Soon Afghan rebels killed the British envoy Sir Louis Cavagnari forcing Britishers to reoccupy Kabul.

History repeated itself, when Yakoob Khan was sent to Dehradun valley like his grandfather Dost Mohammad Khan abdicating the throne to his cousin.

The houses built on the ‘Kabul House’ property on EC Road, Dehradun. photo by Vinod Pundir

In the spring of 1880, the 50-acre Bellevue estate, beyond the Mussoorie Library, housed Mohammed Yaqub Khan. In Dehradun staying during winters, he also built for himself a smaller replica of Bala Hisar on East Canal Road where he stayed with his family till his death in 1923.

The former ruler’s property stretched beyond Survey Chowk and the main EC Road with the family cemetery at Shastdhara Road.  The Mangla Devi Inter College was the abode of the King and his staff members lived at the present electricity office across East Canal Road. The Mosque adjacent to Mangla Devi School was known as Afghan mosque and separate enclosures were created for the King’s staff and horses.



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