KARACHI, the ‘city of lights’ is known for its breathtakingly beautiful infrastructure with intricate designs from the British era that hold a historic significance associated with events or communities. These landmarks include old buildings in Saddar, Kharadar, Clifton, Empress Market, Civil Lines and many other locations around the city.

The architecture of the iconic buildings has very fine detailing that grabs one’s attention amid the busy streets of Karachi. Indeed, these are an asset to the city.

Unfortunately, these attractions are being destroyed to construct high-rise buildings in order to cater to the increasing urbanisation. For these historic structures there is no implementation of laws to maintain or preserve them and, as a consequence, the city is gradually losing its vintage charm.

A lot of these buildings can become tourist attractions because those left idle have their vibrant colours hidden under the layers of dust that actually represent the life and soul of the community concerned.

A possible and practical solution is to invest in preserving the structure of these buildings and not leave them unattended, because when they are converted into sites of attraction or offices, they come to the public’s attention.

The aesthetic appeal should be revived since it is not possible to recreate the unique features of even one of these buildings. Preserving such sites will generate employment. A comprehensive strategy needs to be developed as happens in other countries to protect such historic assets. Moreover, the Sindh government may also initiate a project on the pattern of the ‘Walled City of Lahore’ plan.

Laraib Lashari
Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022

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