KARACHI: A group of Karachiites recently took it upon themselves to preserve the important historical and cultural heritage building in the busy downtown of the metropolis with an aim to re claim public spaces.

The movement, named Eduljee Dinshaw Road project, aimed to restore the grandeur of the Karachi Port Trust and Imperial Customs House buildings and give a facelift to the area spanning over half a kilometre. The derelict street beside KPT building was also restored as part of the project.

The street before restoration.
The street before restoration.

The campaign is the result of a successful public-private partnership, intended to restore, beautify and reclaim public places.

Initiator of the project Tariq Huda is a collector at customs who later persuaded architect Shahid Abdulla and designer Danish Zuby to join his cause.

The walkway during the restoration and beautification work.
The walkway during the restoration and beautification work.

Project Director Syed Haider Raza said work on this project was initiated a year ago. “It took us around 5-6 months to design this restoration and beautification work,” he said. And just like that, over a hundred thousand square feet of area was restored.

View of the area after the completion of Eduljee Dinshaw Road project.
View of the area after the completion of Eduljee Dinshaw Road project.

The brains behind the campaign say it’s the first step to highlight the economic and cultural importance of Karachi in the national context, a labour of love in a city which has otherwise fallen prey to a cycle of violence and neglect.

This project not only redid two masterpieces (buildings) but also enabled the residents of the area to spend their leisure time strolling in a street that was earlier impossible to cut across.

View of the area after the completion of Eduljee Dinshaw Road project.
View of the area after the completion of Eduljee Dinshaw Road project.

SOC Films documented this change for the people of Karachi and the rest of country to take pride in their rich historic culture.

The video opens with residents complaining about the ineffectiveness of the city administration which has totally ignored the development of the area. They narrate the hardships faced by passers by and appear forlorn.

But the success of the restoration and beatification has left them ecstatic; many share their amazement at the quality of the work, which they claim is of international standard.

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