Karachi has been added to the list of twenty-five sites making up the list of World Monument Watch List for the year 2018. It has been included in by the tag of ‘Historic Karachi’.
This is an important development and would help in making the historical sites of the metropolis prominent which are jeopardized by the ever-growing population and structural developments.
While speaking to some reporters NED’s Chairperson of the department of architecture and planning—Prof. Noman Ahmed informed.
The list was released by the WMF (World Monument Fund). WMF announces its list every year. It is a non-profit New York-based organization working on saving the world’s treasured sites. It has so far extended its project up to six hundred in ninety different countries.
Prof. Ahmed mentioned that Karachi made it to the list which is an achievement as it would draw attention and public interest in the historic sites of Karachi and would also enable initiatives in regard to its preservation. He gave the credit to Dr. Anila Naeem by saying that it was her efforts and work which she did earlier on the historical sites of Shikarpur that this achievement was received. Dr. Naeem is also the head of heritage cell of the department.
Above twelve hundred buildings of Karachi alone were included in the government list of protected legacy but in August the court directed the government to revise the list and do proper survey and scrutiny of the entire province and to make proper inclusive rules under the Heritage Act within a span of 6 months.
Prof Ahmed in response to a question said that the historical sites remain susceptible as no rules were made and now the matter is in court.
He mentioned that the biggest issue is of preservation in a way that the actual features of the heritage remain original and intact, this requires special architectural skills. Along with, preservation there is also a need for modern development.
He said many strategies are already available and applied around the world and could be easily learned and replicated.
He also said that there is a need for people to understand that the heritage could be preserved. People should be provided with reassuring examples like Mohatta Palace, but unluckily many people are unaware of it. Accessing historical places should be made easy so that people may understand and relate to their history in a much better way.
He mentioned that the owners of the heritage sites should be given incentives by the government relating their preservation. At present what happens is if a historic site comes on heritage list then the owner himself starts destroying the site so nobody could come up with an objection.
Some other sites on World Monument Watch List-2018 are:
- Government House—St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
- Al-Habda’ Minaret—Mosul, Iraq
- Potager Du Roi—Versailles, France
- Sirius Building—Sydney, Australia
- Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani—Cairo, Egypt
- Prince Kung’s Manison—Beijing, China
- Amatrice—Amatrice, Italy
- Lifta—Jerusalem, Israel
The WMF website states that the historic sites present timely prospects for preservation, sustainable development, and community involvement.