Frere Hall: Unplanned and unapproved ‘repair’ work poses damage to heritage site
KARACHI: In what seems to be an attempt to deface the iconic Frere Hall, the administration of the heritage site has okayed renovation work without prior plan or arrangements, ARY News reported on Friday.
According to the reports, the repair and renovation works have been approved by the Administrator Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani without seeking No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Heritage Department which is a prerequisite for such a development.
The said renovation works pose threats to the Sadequain’s mural painted inside the Hall as the gates and windows have reportedly been opened and the grills from the windows removed. Pigeons can be seen nesting on the perches inside the hall.
The labour to conduct the said works has reportedly begun scratching and raking the floor with their tools and damaging the historic site. The dust and soil entering and emanating from the activities can damage or disfigure the mural inside the hall, the sources inside have confirmed.
It is imperative to seek an approval from the heritage department before carrying out any construction, renovation or repair work on the heritage site, however, this was not heeded to by the Karachi administrator.
According to the Sindh culture department, the Frere Hall is the most notable building in Karachi. “The hall was constructed in 1863 to commemorate the long and brilliant administration of Sir Bartle Frere” when he was called to the viceroy’s Council in 1859.
Considered as one of the most iconic buildings of Karachi, Frere Hall dates from the early British colonial-era in Sindh. Completed in 1865, Frere Hall was originally intended to serve as Karachi’s town hall and now serves as space for cultural and social activities.