The cultural heritage of Karachi is going to be destroyed due to the political mileage that federal government seeks by speeding up the projects. Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and other projects are likely to be affecting the Quaid-i-Azam’s Mausoleum along with the 54 other heritage sites.
In order to portray false bravado, the federal government is claiming that they would be “gifting” Metro bus services to the citizens of Karachi. The project was initially planned to be operating from the segregated lanes that go from Surjani Town to Guru Mandir. From there it was supposed to join Blue Line BRT and Sohrab Goth. But that has not materialized, and due to the subsequent delays, the whole outlook of the project would be different now.
Due to the additional loop, there has been an increase in the overall cost of the project. Initially, the project was costing Rs 16 billion; now the cost would be around 25 billion. All the suggestions of the experts have been put aside, and in a bid to hasten the project we are witnessing this cost escalation.
Also, the segregated track would be elevated to the MA Jinnah Road to adjacent Municipal Park. Here, an elevated rotary would be constructed that would affect Mama Parsi Girls High School and Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).
Other historical sites that are declared heritage that would be affected by it are Seven Day Hospital, Pinjare Pure Building, Pehlvi Restaurant, Price and Capri Cinemas, Radio Pakistan. But the worst that it would be doing is that the visibility of the podium of Jinnah’s tomb would be hindered by it.
One can’t see such a worst form of architectural imperialism and political maneuvering. These historical sites are heritage, and Karachi has already lost some of its aesthetics. The smarter thing would be to ensure that project should be carried out at much smaller scale, but keeping in mind Federal Government’s penchant for glory, it all seems quite unlikely to be happening. The rich cultural heritage of the city thus seems to be in danger.