A FEW days ago, I took my family to the mausoleum of the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was a long overdue visit which was a much-anticipated affair for my children. What happened when we reached the premises left the whole family rather befuddled.

After passing through the somewhat poorly-managed gardens within the complex, we were shocked to learn that people are not allowed to enter the main compound.

Our repeated entreaties to the security guards on the scene went unheeded. All we got to know was that it was not something new, and that the ban had been in place for a few years. Why? None of the guards had any clue. We returned after making do with whatever we could, and what we could was a visit to the adjacent compound downstairs where other luminaries of Pakistan movement are resting, and the museum beside it.

I would like to point out that the waterless fountains, ponds, pathways and gardens were all in a state of gross neglect when we visited. Regular maintenance and cleanliness were apparently not even the target of those managing the Quaid’s mausoleum.

After this disappointment, we opted to visit the Wazir Mansion in Kharadar area, which is the birthplace of the Quaid. We did not know that further disappointment was in store for us. We were stopped by the security guard on duty, who told us that the site remains closed on Wednesdays. Why a Wednesday? Of course, the security guard had no clue, and was not even expected to know.

Both these surprises have been quite incomprehensible. The utter lack of logic behind such decisions was obvious. The relevant authorities should look into the matter so that the public may not get inconvenienced unnecessarily.

Umar M. Makhdumi
Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2024

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