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February 20, 2020

US ambassador announces Rs155m grant to preserve Nusserwanjee Building

Karachi

February 20, 2020

The United States ambassador to Pakistan, Paul Jones, announced on Wednesday a grant of Rs155 million to preserve the historical Nusserwanjee Building, which is one of the pre-Partition landmarks in Karachi and a reminiscent of the city’s diverse past.

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the beginning of the project at the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture, Jones said this was the third grant in Sindh and the 23rd in the country by the US under its Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

“Since 2001, the US has awarded more than Rs434 million in grants to preserve cultural sites in Pakistan, partnering with the governments and experts, to inspire coming generations to carry forward the vision of preserving the country’s rich and diverse culture,” he said.

“Preservation of culture is not simply preservation of stone and mortar. Rather, it is an investment in building future on stronger culture foundations. It strengthens communities, builds a sense of belonging, contributes to economic development and educates generations about the tremendous heritage of diversity and tolerance that has existed in Islam for centuries.”

Earlier, Akeel Bilgrami, who is one of the founders of the IVS, in his speech, shed light on the history of the Nusserwanjee Building, which was built in 1890 by the father of Jamshed Nusserwanjee, the first elected mayor of Karachi, who is also dubbed as the maker of modern Karachi by historians.

Bilgrami said that they acquired the land on which the IVS campus was located in Clifton, Block 2 on May 1, 1991, and before that it was used for lodging donkey carts carrying goods from the port to the city. “We brainstormed but ended up with no idea. But, then, one day, Shahid Abdullah called me to tell that he had found a building for the school in the middle of the city.”

Abdullah’s idea was to relocate the Nusserwanjee Building which was originally in Kharadar to Clifton. “People called us certified mad and even the board of governors of the school rejected our proposal but we went on with it and dismantled the building to build it up here with some slight modifications.” The project to rehabilitate this building is a collaboration of the US Embassy in Pakistan, IVS and Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society.