Heritage goes up in flames
According to prominent conservation architect Yasmeen Lari, these maps dated back to the year 1874. They were the earliest city survey maps that were made on the basis of the Great Indian Trigonometric Survey conducted at that time.
Like the great fire of Rome that destroyed the greatest city in the Roman era and known as the darkest chapters of Roman history, the historians of Karachi would also term the incidents of arson on Monday as the worst incident in history of Karachi in terms of heritage damage. Most of the historical buildings are burnt to such an extent that their restoration might be impossible.
The MA Jinnah Road (formerly Bunder Road) is home to hundreds of historical buildings that belong to the colonial era and owing to their presence, historians call this area as an open museum of heritage.
The road also has the distinction of having some of the finest historical buildings built during the British rule, and according to Lari, the one-and-a-half kilometres distance between the KMC building and Merewether Tower, there are about 60 historical buildings, majority of them protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act. Under the act, 600 such buildings were declared protected in the city in 1996. The Theosophical Hall, Denso Hall, Mama Parsi School, Khaliqdina Hall, Sugan Mansion, Radio Pakistan Building, NJV High School and Richmand Crawford Veterinary Hospital are some of these historical treasures. Besides the KMC building, other historical buildings set ablaze on Monday included the Mohsin Ali Building, Akbar building and a portion of the Denso Hall.