Report: Faheem Zaman
Administrator KMC, Iftikhar Ali Shalwani, in his infinite wisdom has ordered to open up all doors of Sadequain’s mural on the ceiling of Karachi’s Frere Hall, removing all mosquito netting.
Now pigeons are nesting on the corners of the mural roof and inside all over the hall, exposing the great work of the legendary artist in danger. The pigeon droppings can damage property as well, discoloring buildings, mural paints and can ruin the wood.
The action taken by the Administrator, without NOC from the Heritage Committee constituted under An Act to preserve and protect ancient places and objects of architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, ethnological anthropological, and national interest in the Province of Sindh.
All the doors have been opened by the orders of the administrator resulting in dust & wind blowing across the gallery. There is also renovating work underway where the wooden floor is being scrapped. The existing Floor is being removed with drills and scrappers generating dust clouding the hall and Sadequain’s mural.
They also removed chicken wire netting installed to block birds and insects from entering into the gallery for the last 40 years without consulting anyone at their whims. The Frere Hall building, Sadequain Art Gallery, and library in the Hall have been unilaterally taken over by KMC under the administrator’s orders.
The actions being taken are in blatant violation of the restrictions of the Sindh Heritage Committee and the global practices for the protection of heritage & art. The Guardians board has conveyed its serious reservations and protest on the careless, unprecedented, and unprofessional activities in progress in the building.
The Guardians Board while awaiting permissions, approvals, and prescriptions from the Sindh Heritage Committee duly constituted by the Sindh government had to date meticulously protected all of the above from atmospheric vagaries and other hazards as prescribed by international experts.