Civil society activists, architects, and the general public with an eye for aesthetics held a protest outside Frere Hall against the recent construction of a gate by Murtaza Wahab current Adviser to the Chief Minister of Sindh to impose an entry ticket. According to the latest update on the matter, The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered to take down the concrete walls recently built around the historical landmark’s garden.
In addition to that, SHC has prohibited Murtaza Wahab from altering other landmarks/buildings in the city until the next hearing. (Source: The News International)
Scroll down to get more perspective on the topic.
A throwback to 1865 – This optically appealing building was originally intended to serve as Karachi’s town hall and is now synonymous with exhibitions and movements of resistance, such as the Aurat March. Some questions to ask:
1. Will the gate be able to control the crowd?
Frere Hall often experiences overwhelming crowds, which does demand for maintenance and proper guidelines and rules in keeping with the precious heritage value of the property.
2. Do you think that erecting a gate restricts a certain class from entry into Frere Hall?
Frere Hall is home to the citizens from all walks of life, putting up a ticket may not be very welcoming or affordable for everyone.
3. Should there even be a gate at a public park?
Karachi is home to a population of about 15 million, there is dire need for public spaces for families to be able to hang out in areas that are not heavy on the pocket. Restricting access to such areas by putting up a gate on government provided space would deprive the public as well as tourists from gaining access to public property.
4. The question also arises as to the upkeep and maintenance of the existing infrastructure?
There have been rumors that the Frere Hall mural has been damaged. While building a new gate, the focus for needed maintenance is being diverted resulting in further deteroriation of a heritage building that is a precious landmark for all Karachiites in particular and Pakistan at large.
5. Do we not need to regulate the public to preserve historical sights?
History stays alive and meaningful with the people who breathe life into it – a barrier at Frere Hall will not only discourage the public from exploring (and owning) the city but also, deprive generations of using and enjoying a part of the architectural infrastructure that was initially created keeping them in mind.
These are the 5 questions that came to our mind when we heard the news. Have anything to add? Tell us!