Saturday December 04, 2021

Endowment Fund restores Karachi Press Club’s heritage building

December 25, 2018

KARACHI: The Chairman, Endowment Fund Trust (AFT) of Sindh Jahangir Siddiqui has suggested formation of a committee comprising representatives from AFT, Karachi Press Club, civil society and the architects of Karachi to prevent the encroachment on Karachi’s cultural and heritage buildings and to restore them to their original glory.“We need to strengthen our heritage laws to protect our cultural and architectural heritage and to remove loopholes in the existing laws to safeguard our heritage”, Jahangir Siddiqui said while speaking as a chief guest at a ceremony to handover the heritage building of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) after restoration to the club’s management here on Monday.

The building of the press club, which was constructed in 1890 with stone and lime, was completely renovated and restored by the Endowment Fund Trust with the help of over 10 million rupees in over five years’, and on Monday it was finally handed over to the KPC management at a ceremony attended by the management and trustees of AFT, civil society representatives, Karachi’s administration as well as large number of journalists. Jahangir Siddiqui praised the removal of encroachments in Karachi, especially from the cultural and architectural monuments but added there is still need to protect and restore several of Karachi’s cultural and historical heritage structures, for which joint and sustained efforts by the AFT, media, architects and the civil society are required.

Terming the restoration of an old, cultural and architectural structure as an uphill task, Jahangir Siddiqui said the process not only takes a great deal of money but also hard work, passion and dedication as each and every brick and stone has to be replaced with the same type and shape of stone and brick. “When we were restoring Ghulam Shah Kalhoro’s shrine, the replacement of each tile cost us eight times the cost of the ordinary tiles”, he said. Lauding his team of trustees and other members of the Endowment Fund Trust, he said they had restored Ranikot and Naukot Forts, Odho Haveli in Jacobabad, Pir Patho Mosque in Thatta, Shah Bharo Shrine in Larkana while on the advice of eminent physician and SIUT Director Prof. Adibul Hasan Rizvi, they were going to restore the Jain Temple in Nagarparkar.

The AFT Chairman thanked the labourers, the AFT trustees, engineer Mohan Lal, Secretary AFT Abdul Hameed Akhund and others for their support and cooperation in restoring the KPC building, he said the AFT would continue restoration of old structures in Sindh with the help of the endowment fund, for which Sindh government had provided Rs. 1 billion which has now grown into Rs. 1.4 billion fund, which provides 100 to 120 million rupees for the restoration work. On the occasion, he also offered to help the Karachi Press Club in raising funds and getting the colonial era sheds designed to replace the existing metallic structures and sheds.

The Secretary AFT and man behind initiating the KPC’s restoration, Abdul Hameed Akhund said restoring an old house in its original shape is more difficult than constructing a new one. He said the credit to restore KPC’s building in its original shape goes to entire AFT, Engr Mohan Lal and labourers who worked day and night for this difficult task. He said the Endowment Fund Trust was established by the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who approved summary prepared by Nazar Muhammad Mahar and him. On the occasion, he offered to donate books from the library of Salahuddin Qureshi, who has recently passed away.

The secretary Karachi Press Club, Maqsood Yousufi said the KPC’s governing body and its members are grateful to the AFT, especially its Secretary Abdul Hameed Akhund, who had approached the Karachi Press Club and expressed the willingness to preserve and restore the club’s building to its original condition, saying the condition of this historical building had deteriorated with the passage of time.

Recalling that the former Sindh's cultural minister Sassui Palejo had announced restoration of the KPC building for which funds were also allocated, but instead this uphill task was performed by the endowment fund trust. The Secretary KPC also requested the AFT to install the dehydration equipment to prevent the building's structure from subsoil water and other minor tasks. Later, the Chairman AFT Jahangir Siddiqui and trustees inaugurated the restored building of the Karachi Press Club. The KPC governing body presented them with shields and ajraks. The Deputy Chairman AFT Mazhar Siddiqui, AFT Trustee Hameed Haroon, President Karachi Press Club Ahmed Khan Malik, senior journalist Amir Latif and others also spoke during the event.