Wazir Mansion-The Quaid’s Birthplace

A sorry tale of the govt apathy

* Visitors disappointed at closure of Quaid’s birthplace


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI


FOR A large number of visitors who came to the Wazir Mansion, the birthplace of the Father of Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the trip was a disappointment due to the fact that the renovation that began four years ago is yet to be completed.

In 1952 the then federal government purchased Wazir Mansion from a businessman called Wazir Ali and declared it to be a museum as well as a national archive site and a protec

An old image of glorious past.

An old image of glorious past.

ted national monument. Since then, the three-story building situated on New Neham Road (now Haji Sharif Balwani Road) just behind the New Memon Mosque at M.A. Jinnah Road (aka Bunder Road) used to attract thousands of visitors looking forward to pay homage to Jinnah. However, for the past four years the building is closed for visitors on the pretext of renovation.

About four months ago, the Project Director and Curator National Museum of Pakistan Muhammad Shah Bukhari had said that most of the renovation work has been completed and Wazir Mansion will open its doors for the general-public on December 25. However, a visit to the sight by Daily Times on Thursday proved that it was a mere claim.

Officials at the site told this scrib

e that most of the renovation work was completed but the furnishing of the exterior could not begin due to the lack of funds. Meanwhile, the three security guards employed by the department had their complaints too and wanted them to be resolved.

The security guard serving the evening shift told Daily Times that, “As the building is situated in a business hub, the site serves as a haphazard parking lot and even the officials are unable to make their way to the building.” He also said that not many people were willing to treat the birthplace with respect. The guard added that most of Quaid’s personal belongings have been shifted to the National Museum and Quaid-e-Azam House (old Flagstaff House) located on Shahrah-e-Faisal and they are off limits to the common man.

It is worth mentioning that the federal government’s Department of Archaeology and Museums in 2002 had started to renovate Wazir Mansion with an estimated cost of Rs 5.9 million as PC1. According to sources in the department, work on the site beg

an in 2004 and so far around Rs 30 million have been spent to restore Wazir Mansion.

Meanwhile, Project Director Muhammad Shah Bukhari and Director National Museum were not available to give comments.

Arif, a resident said, “As citizens of Karachi and the neighbours of Wazir Mansion, we have often approached the concerned department and told them to speed up the renovation work but all in vain. It is so sad to see people come to this place to pay homage to Quaid and then leave without setting a foot inside.”

Iqbal Tula, another resident commented, “Before work began in 2004, a large number of people used to visit Wazir Mansion. Now things are different and we do not know when the mansion will open again. As far as the lack of funds goes, I suggest that a donation box should be placed outside the building and hopefully this will help in collecting a handsome amount to carry out this project without any delay.”

-Published in Daily Times | Dec 30, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on December 30, 2008.

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