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KARACHI: The city administration has decided to draft an updated “City Tour Map” coupled with unflagging concerted efforts for conservation of more than 1,500 public and private properties declared as heritage buildings.
Officials on Tuesday said a strict policy had already been adopted to prevent damage to these buildings that are largely located in the old city area. The officials said that conservationists and private owners were being consulted for the restoration efforts.
“We are fully conscious that restoration has to be done without compromising their architecture,” said Manzoor Ahmed, associated with heritage and antiques section of the provincial culture department. He said that immediate notice was taken against using sandblast technique to clean Empress Market’s tower. “This reflects the government’s commitment towards restoration of Karachi’s architectural heritage.”
Ahmed said that restoration of 1,500 buildings was a big task that cannot be handled by the department alone, adding that private companies would be involved under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The entire exercise would be monitored by senior architects and conservationists with adequate qualifications, hands-on experience and commitment to the cause, he said.
Abdul Khaliq, associated with Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said that steps were being taken to turn Empress Market, Khaliqdina Hall and other buildings into major attraction for local and foreign tourists.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani has proposed to introduce a tourist bus service for which, open-top double decker buses have been suggested. These buses will tour the city from Empress Market to Clifton and cover old markets, educational institutions and Kharadar and Mithdar areas.
Ahmed further said that environment friendly plants would be planted to promote a “Green look,” and reduce pollution.
Ahmed Jadoon, a senior citizen and activist, said promotion of tourism as an industry in Karachi could help the city and improve the lives of its residents.