Sindh cares less for cultural heritage

Sindh cares less for cultural heritageThe landmark buildings in the city of lights that were supposed to be restored to their past glory according to a well worked out plan, have been left in a state of disrepair since the last seven years due to the pathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, it is learnt.The plan also included the city’s major buildings like Mazar-e-Quaid, Governor House and Karachi University. Unfortunately, the buildings were yet to get cultural heritage cover from the Sindh government, sources told Pakistan Today.
In 2009, the Sindh government had decided to provide cultural heritage cover to some of the landmark buildings in the city to preserve their historical importance. However, the plan seemed to have been put in the back burner by the officials concerned, sources said.
In this regard, the architecture department of the NED University of Engineering and Technology had also carried out the re-survey of some 600 historic buildings. The buildings were to be given cultural heritage cover under the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation Act 1994).
In the first phase, the city’s landmark buildings were to be preserved and while the building of Hyderabad district would be given heritage cover in the second phase, they said, adding that the move was said to ensure the originality of the historic buildings, restricting changes in the structure apart from making other amendments, the sources informed.
According to sources, the survey reports had been presented to the chief secretary office a couple of month back, who was responsible for reviewing the criteria set for the preservation. However, no final decision was taken by the chief secretary since the last few months, they said.
The city buildings that were to be given cultural heritage cover, included mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Governor House, University of Karachi, DJ Science College, Empress Market, Ilaco House in Saddar, KMC Building, all monuments along MA Jinnah Road, Khaliq Dina Hall, Mery Weather Tower.
Moreover, sources informed that the renowned architect and planning consultant Arif Hasan had recommended enlisting the University of Karachi as a heritage site as its master plan and building were the finest example in Pakistan of the rationalist movement in architecture practiced after the post-war period.
The master plan of the Karachi University was designed by Micheal Ecochard, a French architect and urban planner, who was a pioneer in relating architecture and urban planning with archaeology in the Islamic World, they added.
The remarkable complex of the building had been vandalised overtime by ad-hoc changes in the buildings, however, the additional new blocks were unrelated to Michel Ecochard’s design and concept, they said.
Sources said that a committee had also been constituted by the district government Hyderabad for research work on historical/ancient monuments and architectural sites. Besides, some of the private buildings in and around Pucca Qila, Haider Chowk and Naval Rai Market with Clock Tower would be provided heritage cover as these locations with their typical building structure have a character of their own, they said.
However, sources at the architect department, NED University complained about the shortage of funds.
The Sindh government had assigned them re-survey work in December 2005 and the first installment of the Rs 1.8 million was released in Dec 2006, they said, adding that they were facing financial constraints due to late payment of the funds by the provincial government.
The areas of Civil Lines and Cantonment Boards were still to be surveyed as out technical staff was facing serious problems from the authorities concerned regarding granting permission and law and order situation, they added.

(Dawn)

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