HYDERABAD: Demolition of one of the city’s oldest landmarks – Hotel Faran – started on Saturday to pave the way for the construction of a shopping mall on its plot, existing in the city’s prime location ie the Cantonment and Saddar area.

The hotel was built in 1958-59 and its construction was completed in the early ’60s after which it was opened. It used to be one of the four hotels considered to be landmarks and identity of Hyderabad. Three of the four hotels were located within the Cantonment limits and one of the three has since been converted to a girls’ college (private) and the other to a commercial-cum-residential plaza. Now the third one — Faran Hotel — is being demolished.

Akhtar Soomro, who owned it until recently, is said to have settled in the United States. “Akhtar Sahib had been residing on the top floor of this hotel until recently, when we purchased this property from him,” said Haji Ismail, a co-owner of the property. He along with two of his friends got approved a commercial venture from the Cantonment Board Hyderabad (CBH) to be built on the plot.

Many political gatherings used to be held in the hotel in ’60s, ’70s and ’90s. Some political figures claim that Pakistan Peoples Party founder chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto as well as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz founder Nawaz Sharif are among the top politicians of the country who had attended the gatherings. Given its location, the hotel had multiple approaches.

Hotel Faran had four floors with a restaurant on its ground floor. The fifth floor or the rooftop was used as an open space for barbecue.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019